World Briefs: Iran reaches out to Egypt

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CAIRO -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tried Thursday to entice Egypt into a new alliance that could reshape the turbulent Middle East, speaking of forging "comprehensive" and "unfettered" relations after decades of distrust.

The Iranian president arrived in Egypt on Tuesday to attend a two-day Islamic summit hosted by Egypt's president, Islamist Mohammed Morsi.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's visit is the first by an Iranian president in 30 years and he used it to launch a charm offensive to woo Egyptians and their leadership. He offered to extend cash-strapped Egypt a credit line and investments. He said his government intended to lift visa requirements for Egyptian tourists and businessmen and he gave a lengthy interview to state television.

China battles immolations

HONG KONG -- The police in a restive Tibetan area have arrested 12 people and detained dozens more accused of a playing a part in acts of self-immolation by Tibetan monks and others protesting Chinese rule, the state-run media said Thursday, as the government stepped up its campaign of attributing the protests to a plot inspired by the exiled Dalai Lama.

The announcement of the crackdown in Qinghai province in western China comes as the number of self-immolations reported in Tibetan parts of the country over the past four years approached 100, a somber milestone that has appeared to spur efforts by the Chinese police and officials to crack down on people and groups seeking greater freedom for Tibetans.

India faulted on child abuse

NEW DELHI -- Sexual abuse of children is "disturbingly common" in India, and the government's response to it has fallen short, both in protecting children and in treating victims, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Thursday.

The group urged the government to better shield children from sexual abuse as part of a broad push for reform after the death of a young woman who was gang-raped here in December.

Iran: video from U.S. drone

TEHRAN -- In what Iran is calling a new demonstration of its military advances, state television has broadcast clips from what was described as encrypted video footage extracted from the camera of an unarmed U.S. surveillance drone, which was seized in Iranian territory in December 2011.

The seizure of the drone, a sophisticated batwinged RQ-170 Sentinel model that had been based in neighboring Afghanistan and run by the CIA, was an embarrassment for the U.S., which said the aircraft had crashed in Iran because of a technical malfunction.

Iran has said its military fooled the drone's avionics system into a guided landing 140 miles from the Afghan border, and has since claimed to have reverse-engineered the aircraft's secrets.

Bribery widespread

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The cost of corruption in Afghanistan rose sharply last year to $3.9 billion, and half of all Afghans bribed public officials for services, the U.N. said Thursday. The findings came despite repeated promises by President Hamid Karzai to clean up his government.

Donor nations also fear aid money could be diverted by corrupt officials or mismanaged. Mr. Karzai ordered his ministries, prosecutors and judiciary to fight bribery, nepotism and cronyism with a series of measures in July.

But a survey by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime and Afghanistan's anti-corruption unit showed slight improvement in curbing the common practice of paying bribes for public services in the country.

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