World Briefs / French: Arafat not poisoned

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PARIS -- French scientists looking into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have dismissed poisoning by radioactive polonium, his widow said Tuesday. The results contradict earlier findings by a Swiss lab, and mean it's still unclear how Arafat died nine years ago.

Teams of scientists from three countries were appointed to determine whether polonium played a role in his death in a French military hospital in 2004. Palestinians have long suspected Israel of poisoning him, which Israel denies.

After a 2012 report that traces of radioactive polonium were found on Arafat's clothing, Arafat's widow filed a legal complaint in France seeking an investigation into whether he was murdered.

Thailand protests ease

BANGKOK -- The political crisis that has shaken Thailand's capital for more than a week eased suddenly Tuesday after the prime minister ordered police to stop battling anti-government protesters.

The move was timed to coincide with celebrations of ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 86th birthday Thursday, a holiday that holds deep significance in the Southeast

Riot police lowered their shields and walked away from heavily fortified positions around Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's office at Government House.

6 years in acid attack

MOSCOW -- A Moscow court Tuesday sentenced Pavel V. Dmitrichenko, the former Bolshoi Ballet Theater soloist, to six years in a penal colony for ordering an acid attack in January that nearly blinded the theater's artistic director, Sergei Filin.

Prosecutors had requested a sentence of nine years for Dmitrichenko, who they said was motivated by revenge for Mr. Filin's denial of key roles to Dmitrichenko and his common-law wife, Anzhelina Vorontsova.

Yuri Zarutsky, the man that Dmitrichenko admitted to asking to hit Mr. Filin "on the nose" and who prosecutors said was paid to concoct and use homemade acid against Mr. Filin, was given a 10-year sentence for conspiracy to cause bodily harm.

NATO wants decision

BRUSSELS -- World diplomats issued a stern warning Tuesday to Afghan leaders in a new effort to help secure the war-torn nation's future with thousands of foreign forces after 2014.

But officials backed off earlier U.S. threats to withdraw all troops if Afghan President Hamid Karzai doesn't agree to the offer before the end of the year.

NATO officials said, however, that they need a decision, and soon, on continuing a military training mission in Afghanistan through next year. Without clarity, the estimated 50 nations who said they will help transition Afghanistan from 13 years of war will have to start planning how, and when, to send soldiers home.

Vatican ducks questions

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican on Tuesday dodged a series of questions posed by a U.N. committee about clerical sexual abuse by noting that the Holy See doesn't control the actions of every Catholic in the world, much less regulate every Catholic priest, parish or school.

Rather, the Vatican asserted that local bishops are ultimately responsible for keeping children safe from pedophile priests, and that schools and workhouses where abuse occurred are subject to local civil laws and regulations, not Vatican jurisdiction.

The Vatican's position was laid out in a response to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child about its implementation of the 1989 U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child, the main U.N. treaty guaranteeing a full range of human rights for children.

-- Compiled from news services


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