World briefs (8/24/13)

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Pro-Morsi rallies in Egypt smaller

CAIRO -- Supporters of Egypt's deposed president, who once overwhelmed cities in the hundreds of thousands, changed tactics Friday by demonstrating in scattered, small rallies that avoided confronting a heavy military deployment waiting for them across the country.

The low turnout signaled the strain on ousted leader Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, as it has trouble drawing large numbers of supporters and faces an increasingly skeptical Egyptian public wary of more bloodshed like that which followed the July 3 military coup that overthrew him. Meanwhile, an intense security crackdown by the military-backed interim government has rounded up much of its leadership.

Morsi supporters dubbed the day the "Friday of Martyrs," in reference to the several hundred people that died in clashes with Egypt's military during raids on street camps this month.

Protests roil Mexico City

MEXICO CITY -- Thousands of striking teachers strangled traffic and blocked access to Mexico City's international airport on Friday, flexing their muscles in a bid to block educational changes intended to introduce teacher evaluations and reduce union power over hiring decisions.

Hundreds of striking teachers also battled police at the Congress building and later blockaded streets around the building, forcing lawmakers to meet in a convention center to vote on the education overhaul bill, parts of which were approved by the lower house.

Rebels suspend talks

HAVANA -- The leftist Colombian rebel group FARC on Friday suspended peace talks with the Colombian government to evaluate a proposal calling for a referendum on a peace agreement.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said they needed to evaluate the proposal submitted to Congress Thursday by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos calling for a potential peace agreement to be the subject of a referendum in March or May 2014.

Putin bans rallies in Sochi

MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree banning demonstrations and rallies for two and a half months in Sochi around the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Kremlin announced Friday.

Mr. Putin's decree could be aimed at heading off demonstrations against Russia's ban on alleged gay propaganda, a new law that has been sharply criticized in the West.

Suspected rapist arrested

MUMBAI, India -- The police in Mumbai have arrested one man in connection with the reported gang rape Thursday of a 23-year-old photojournalist in the Lower Parel neighborhood.

The police said the attack occurred around sunset Thursday, as the woman and a male colleague were visiting Shakti Mills, an abandoned textile mill complex near the Mahalaxmi train station in Lower Parel. The woman was taking photographs of the area for a magazine story about Mumbai's chawls, tenements for workers who were employed in the mills.

Convictions overturned

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia's Court of Appeal has overturned the conviction of two of Prime Minister Najib Razak's former police guards who had been sentenced to death for the 2006 murder of a Mongolian woman.

Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail said he will appeal Friday's decision in the Federal Court, the country's highest court.

-- Compiled from news services

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