World Briefs: Bombing kills 15 in Egypt

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MANSOURA, Egypt -- A powerful blast ripped through a police headquarters in an Egyptian Nile Delta city Tuesday while top security officials met to work out arrangements for an upcoming constitutional referendum, killing 15 people and wounding more than 100 in the deadliest bombing yet in a campaign of violence blamed on Islamic militants.

Authorities quickly sought to pin blame for the blast on ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, the military-backed interim government's top political nemesis.

But there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

Deadly clash in Lebanon

BEIRUT -- Hezbollah fighters ambushed Syrian rebels as they infiltrated Lebanon through a rugged mountain area along the Syrian border, killing about 30 of them, a Hezbollah commander confirmed Tuesday.

The rebel unit entered Saturday though a smuggler route outside the eastern Beqaa Valley town of Nahle, where Hezbollah has training camps and arms depots.

The commander said the rebels were going to fire rockets into nearby Shiite villages in retaliation for Hezbollah's military involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Explosives delay trial

ISLAMABAD -- The treason trial of Pakistan's former military strongman, Pervez Musharraf, got off to a cloak-and-dagger start Tuesday when police discovered explosives and other weapons on the route from his Islamabad home to the court hearing the case.

Mr. Musharraf had been scheduled to make history as the first Pakistani military dictator, out of four that have ruled the country since its independence in 1947, to be held accountable by a civilian court.

Greenpeace amnesty

MOSCOW -- The sweeping amnesty that is underway in Russia was extended Tuesday to a member of the crew of the Arctic Sunrise, a Greenpeace International ship seized on the open seas three months ago.

If the amnesty covers the rest of the 28-member crew as expected, it will draw to a close one of the more contentious chapters in Greenpeace's history, in which Russian commandos boarded a ship, imprisoned the crew members and charged them, for a time, with piracy.

The amnesty is viewed by many as an effort by President Vladimir Putin to polish Russia's image before hosting the Olympic Winter Games in February.

Production of fuel rods?

SEOUL, South Korea -- Satellite imagery suggests that North Korea may have begun producing fuel rods for its recently restarted nuclear reactor, the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said in a report published Tuesday.

The signs of new activity at North Korea's main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, follow the country's repeated assertions that it is strengthening its capabilities to produce nuclear arms.

North Korea is believed to have only 2,000 fuel rods in its inventory, a quarter of the 8,000 needed for a full load of fuel.

Retirement age to rise

BEIJING -- China plans to raise the retirement age for the first time since the 1950s, as policymakers confront the prospect of a shrinking work force that damps economic growth.

The age will rise gradually, Hu Xiaoyi, a vice minister of human resources and social security, said this month. China's compulsory retirement ages, now 50 for most women and 60 for men, are likely in 2020 to be about five years higher than they are now, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

-- Compiled from news services


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