World briefs (5/12/13)

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G-7 completes 2 days of talks

LONDON -- Finance ministers from leading global economies Saturday avoided a public rift with Japan over policies driving down the value of its currency, while keeping up pressure on Germany to help lift growth in Europe.

At the end of two days of talks among the Group of 7 finance ministers outside London, other nations appeared to accept -- at least for now -- Japan's explanation that its new monetary efforts were meant to stimulate its domestic economy, rather than to drive down the yen on international currency markets.

The chancellor of the Exchequer in Britain, George Osborne, said ministers from the G-7 -- made up of the United States, Germany, Japan, Britain, Italy, France and Canada -- had reaffirmed earlier commitments on exchange rates. The two-day meeting, in Buckinghamshire, also focused on efforts to stem tax avoidance and on banking reform.

Retrial of Mubarak begins

CAIRO -- Egyptian prosecutors said they would present fresh evidence against Hosni Mubarak as the ousted president is retried for his alleged role in the deaths of about 850 protesters during the January 2011 uprising.

In the resumption of a case that has become emblematic of Egypt's stunted transition to democracy, Mr. Mubarak appeared in court Saturday on a stretcher, sitting up and wearing sun glasses.

The former ruler was joined in a metal cage by his longtime interior minister, Habib El-Adli, his two sons Alaa and Gamal and six former security officials who are also being retried.

Cyclone nears refugees

BANGKOK -- A tropical cyclone in the Andaman Sea is headed close to an area in Myanmar where tens of thousands of victims of ethnic and religious violence are living in makeshift camps, adding urgency to fears of what the United Nations has termed a looming "humanitarian catastrophe."

Of the more than 130,000 people forced to flee their homes in rioting between Buddhists and Muslims over the last year in western Myanmar, around half are living in low-lying camps near the sea, the U.N. says.

Projections by the U.S. Navy Marine Meteorology Division estimated that the cyclone would reach land around Wednesday.

Korean sex abuse report

SEOUL, South Korea -- A South Korean presidential spokesman who was dismissed for what officials called a "disgraceful incident" while accompanying President Park Geun-hye on a visit to the United States has denied reports that he sexually molested a Korean-American woman during the trip.

Ms. Park's office said she fired her chief spokesman, Yoon Chang-jung, 56, last week because unspecified actions he committed marred South Korea's national dignity. The presidential Blue House did not elaborate.

Washington Metropolitan Police spokesman Araz Alali said police were investigating a report of misdemeanor sexual abuse but he could not comment further.

Also in the world ...

Ending four decades of perfect attendance, Queen Elizabeth II will skip the biennial meeting of Commonwealth leaders later this year as part of a rethink by palace officials of long-distance travel and public events for the 87-year-old monarch. Prince Charles will take his mother's place at the November gathering in Sri Lanka, a boost in the profile of the heir to the British throne. ... A 6.2 earthquake hit the south of Iran near the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday. At least 11 people were injured and five villages destroyed, Tehran-based Press TV reported.

-- Compiled from news services

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