World Briefs: China sends activist to jail

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BEIJING -- In a further sign that China shows no signs of loosening up on political dissent, a Beijing court Sunday sentenced one of the country's most prominent human rights activists to four years in prison.

Xu Zhiyong, 40, a lawyer and leader of China's New Citizens movement, was convicted in Beijing Intermediate People's Court 1 of "creating a public disturbance" in connection with a peaceful rally last year that sought better education access for children of migrant workers.

Human rights advocates say the prosecution had nothing to do with that public protest but was aimed at muzzling a budding political overhaul movement that had pressed for public disclosure of the wealth of Chinese Communist Party officials, a sensitive issue among the China's ruling elite.

Afghanistan bus attack

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A suicide attack Sunday morning on a shuttle bus transporting soldiers through Kabul killed at least four people, including two civilians, the first deadly assault in the Afghan capital since 21 civilians were killed in an attack at a popular restaurant on Jan. 17.

The attack appeared to hew to the more traditional targets of the insurgents, who have made assaults on government and Western military targets their primary concern over the last several years. Following the assault on Taverna du Liban, a restaurant popular with Western civilians -- 13 of whom were gunned down in that attack -- a palpable fear emerged in the capital that the insurgents might be shifting tactics to target unarmed civilians. It remains unclear whether that is the case.

Arms depot explosions

KINSHASA, Congo -- The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo says explosions from an arms depot near the diamond-mining hub of Mbuji-Mayi have killed more than 20 people.

A U.N. statement says the explosions injured 50 people and destroyed many houses, causing "desolation" in the heart of Congo's third largest city.

It says "official sources" determined that a lightning bolt Friday hit the munitions depot of an army barracks outside Mbuji-Mayi and exploding shells hit homes some 4 miles away.

NSA industrial spying?

BERLIN -- Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden claimed in a new interview that the U.S. agency is involved in industrial espionage.

In the interview aired Sunday night on German public television broadcaster ARD, Mr. Snowden said if German engineering company Siemens had information that would benefit the U.S., but had nothing to do with national security needs, the National Security Agency would still use it.

It wasn't clear what exactly Mr. Snowden accused the NSA of doing with such information.

Also in the world ...

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that all Jewish settlers should have the right to remain in their homes in a future Palestine, an official in his office said Sunday, offering a novel approach to one of the stickiest issues in Mideast peace talks albeit one that was immediately rejected by the Palestinians and settlers themselves. ... Anat Kamm, an Israeli woman convicted of stealing classified military documents during her army service, was released from jail Sunday after being paroled for good behavior.

-- Compiled from news services


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