World briefs: Trial starts in hacking case

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LONDON -- The trial of two former top editors of Rupert Murdoch's defunct News of the World began Monday with the selection of a jury to hear the complex and high-profile case sparked by a tabloid phone-hacking scandal that has shaken Mr. Murdoch's media empire and tarnished the image of British journalism.

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson -- both one-time senior Murdoch aides and associates of British Prime Minister David Cameron -- are charged with conspiring to hack the phones of celebrities and other people in the public eye and with making illegal payments to officials for information.

This is the first criminal trial stemming from revelations in 2011 of tabloid phone-hacking -- a scandal that exposed a murky web of ties binding Britain's media, political and police establishments. Exposure of illegal eavesdropping by the News of the World led Mr. Murdoch to shut the 168-year-old newspaper and spurred a judge-led, media-ethics inquiry and several wide-ranging criminal investigations. Dozens of journalists and officials have been arrested.

Inspection deadline missed

BEIRUT -- International inspectors overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile have missed an early deadline in a brutally tight schedule after security concerns prevented them from visiting two sites linked to Damascus' chemical program.

Experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were to have checked all 23 of Syria's declared chemical sites by Sunday, but the organization said Monday that inspectors have visited only 21 because of security issues.

Tiananmen crash kills 5

BEIJING -- Five people were killed and 38 were injured Monday when a speeding vehicle careered along a crowded sidewalk in the ceremonial heart of the Chinese capital and burst into flames at the entrance to the Forbidden City, billowing black smoke that obscured the iconic portrait of Mao Zedong.

Three of the dead were the driver and the two passengers riding in the car, and the other two were pedestrians. Authorities quickly sealed the area around Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, which is normally packed with thousands of tourists.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman declined to respond to a question about whether the episode had been a terrorist attack.

Setback for Fernandez

BUENOS AIRES -- President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's ruling coalition lost Buenos Aires province, the country's largest constituency, while keeping a majority in both houses of Congress in midterm elections on Sunday.

Ms. Fernandez's ruling alliance received 33 percent of votes nationwide, according to the preliminary results. The results end any hope she may have harbored of pushing through constitutional changes to seek a third term in 2015 after failing to obtain a two-thirds majority in Congress, a polling company said.

Islamic group blamed

NEW DELHI -- Investigators believe that Indian Mujahedeen, an outlawed Islamic group, was behind a series of explosions Sunday that killed at least six people and disrupted a huge political rally in Patna, a senior official said Monday.

Police said the two suspects they have in custody have said under interrogation that the blasts were planned by Mohammed Tehseen Akhtar, a figure in the banned militant group, according to a senior police official. Another suspect died of wounds sustained in the bombings and a fourth is still at large.



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