World briefs: Israel shuns U.N. review

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GENEVA -- Israel on Tuesday became the first country to withhold cooperation from a U.N. review of its human rights practices, shunning efforts by the United States and others to encourage it to participate. Representatives from Israel did not appear at a session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday when it was due to present a report as part of what is known as the Universal Periodic Review process, in which all 193 member states had previously participated.

The underlying concern expressed by many council members in Tuesday's session is that Israel's decision to stay away from the review has broken established practice of cooperation observed by all countries, opening the door to noncooperation.

Murdoch apologizes

LONDON -- Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon whose British newspaper outpost has been mired in a phone-hacking scandal, took the unusual step of apologizing for a cartoon printed in The Sunday Times of London that depicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel building a bloody wall trapping the bodies of Palestinians.

The drawing, by one of Britain's best-known cartoonists, was published Sunday, as Britain observed Holocaust Memorial Day.

China's leader won't budge

HONG KONG -- China will never bargain over what it deems to be "core" territorial and security interests, the country's top leader, Xi Jinping, said in his first published speech setting out his foreign policy views since taking over as head of the Communist Party.

Mr. Xi laid out some of the principles likely to shape Chinese diplomacy, seeking to balance vows of commitment to peace with a warning that certain demands are sacrosanct to Beijing.

Life term in Ukraine

MOSCOW -- A Ukrainian court sentenced a former security official to life in prison Tuesday for the death of Georgy Gongadze, a journalist whose mysterious death in 2000 provoked an international outcry and helped set off protests against the president at the time, Leonid D. Kuchma.

The former security official, Gen. Olexiy Pukach, who once headed a surveillance department for Ukraine's Interior Ministry, testified that he had not intended to kill Gongadze but strangled him with a belt accidentally in the course of an interrogation.

Crime boss wounded

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- A convicted underworld boss was shot and seriously wounded in broad daylight outside a courthouse in Bulgaria's capital on Tuesday, sending panicked people on a busy downtown street scrambling for cover.

The shooter or shooters opened fire at around 9:30 a.m., probably from an apartment building across the street from the Sofia Courthouse, police said.

Officer slain in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Gunmen riding on a motorcycle shot and killed a police officer protecting polio workers during a U.N.-backed vaccination campaign in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, the police said.

The attack took place as dozens of polio workers were going door to door to vaccinate children in Gullu Dheri village of Swabi district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said senior police officer Izhar Shah.

Floodwaters near peak

SYDNEY -- Floodwaters in eastern Australia are approaching their peak as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald moves out to sea after leaving four dead, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and causing millions of dollars of damage.

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