World briefs: Musharraf evades shoe

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KARACHI, Pakistan -- An angry lawyer threw a shoe at former President Pervez Musharraf as he headed to court in southern Pakistan on Friday to face legal charges following his return to the country after four years in self-imposed exile, police said.

Mr. Musharraf, who seized power in a military coup in 1999 but was forced to step down nearly a decade later, is disliked by many lawyers throughout Pakistan because of his decision to suspend the chief justice of the Supreme Court while he was in office.

The shoe did not hit Mr. Musharraf, and the lawyer was not detained because no charges were filed against him. Throwing a shoe at someone is an especially potent insult in Muslim countries because the sole is considered unclean.

Meanwhile, a Taliban suicide bomber on a bicycle attacked the convoy of a paramilitary police commander in northwestern Pakistan, killing 11 people, including a 4-month-old infant, police said.

Mandela making progress

JOHANNESBURG -- Nelson Mandela is making "steady progress" while being treated for a recurring lung infection and he had a full breakfast on Friday, South African authorities said.

The office of President Jacob Zuma released a statement in which it said the former president and anti-apartheid leader was in good spirits after being taken late Wednesday to a hospital in the capital, Pretoria.

It is 94-year-old Mandela's third trip to a hospital since December.

Costly Chinese pollution

BEIJING -- The cost of environmental degradation in China in 2010 was about $230 billion, or 3.5 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, an official Chinese news report said this week.

The statistic came from a study by the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, which is part of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The estimated loss for 2010 was three times that for 2004, in local currency terms. The figure is based on costs rising from pollution and damage to the ecosystem, but the figure was incomplete because the researchers did not have a complete set of data.

Roundup in Austria

VIENNA -- Austrian police and firefighters have taken on the role of urban cowboys in a two-day round-up of a herd of cattle that broke out of a fenced-off pasture.

Police said 43 steers defied attempts to recapture them after wandering off Thursday and heading toward the Upper Austrian town of Freistadt. After being chased away from the railway station, they endangered motorists by stampeding onto a two-lane highway before running into a town suburb. Two firefighters who tried to stop them were injured.

Police said 18 of the animals remained on the loose Friday. The rest have been corralled or tranquilized.

Also in the world ...

The White House on Friday condemned reports of sexual violence against women at anti-government demonstrations in Egypt and urged law enforcement to protect them. ... Voting irregularities have been confirmed in Kenya's presidential election earlier this month after a landmark legal challenge wrapped up Friday. ... President Giorgio Napolitano began a new round of consultations Friday to identify a candidate for prime minister who would be able to count on the backing of Italy's fractured political parties and be able to form a government.

-- Compiled from news services

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