World briefs: 2 journalists killed in Mali

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DAKAR, Senegal -- Gunmen abducted and killed two French radio journalists on assignment in northern Mali on Saturday, French and Malian officials said, grabbing the pair as they left the home of a rebel leader.

The deaths come four days after France rejoiced at the release of four of its citizens who had been held for three years by al-Qaida's affiliate in North Africa.

It was not immediately clear who had slain the Radio France Internationale journalists.

France launched a military intervention in January in its former colony to try and oust jihadists from power in Kidal and other towns across northern Mali. Separatist rebels have since returned to the area.

Spy agencies swap tips

BERLIN -- Germany's foreign intelligence agency confirmed Saturday that it swaps information on the latest technological developments with its European counterparts, but denied a report that it tried to bypass legal restrictions on Internet surveillance to be able to use advanced technology developed by the British.

Documents released by NSA leaker Edward Snowden claimed Britain's GCHQ spy agency helped its German counterparts to change or bypass domestic laws.

Martin Heinemann, a spokesman for the agency, did acknowledge that the agency swaps tech tips with friendly agencies in Europe.

Egypt blocks satirist's show

CAIRO -- A private television station Friday abruptly canceled an episode of a show whose host is Bassem Youssef, a popular Egyptian satirist who lampoons political figures and the news media, with the channel saying it had been "taken by surprise" by the show's content.

There was no apparent sign that the authorities had ordered the cancellation by the private channel, CBC. In a statement read on the air, CBC said Mr. Youssef and the show's producer had ignored the channel's editorial policy.

A sense of alarm about media freedoms has grown since July, when the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, after widespread protests against his rule.

Barclays suspends traders

LONDON -- Barclays bank has suspended six traders amid an investigation into whether international currency markets were rigged, the BBC, the Financial Times and other outlets reported Saturday.

Barclays revealed on Wednesday that it was the subject of an investigation by regulators in Britain and other countries over "possible attempts to manipulate certain benchmark currency exchange rates."

The bank said it was "reviewing its foreign exchange trading covering a several year period through August 2013 and is cooperating with the relevant authorities."

China backs Iran projects

TEHRAN, Iran -- A report by an Iranian media website says China has agreed to finance $20 billion in development projects in Iran using oil money not transferred to the Islamic Republic because of international sanctions.

The report published Saturday quoted prominent lawmaker Hasan Sobhaninia saying the deal was reached during talks between Iran's parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani and Chinese leaders.

The U.S. and its allies have imposed oil and banking sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program. Iran frequently uses barter arrangements because of the sanctions.


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