World Briefs: Gay rights office attacked

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DAKAR, Senegal -- A mob ransacked the headquarters of Ivory Coast's most prominent gay rights organization, underscoring the dangers confronting such groups even in the few African countries where homosexual acts are not crimes.

The violence followed days of anti-gay protests in Ivory Coast, which is sometimes considered a safe haven for homosexuals fleeing persecution on the continent.

The attack took place Saturday, but was not publicized until Monday. Nearly 200 people stormed the offices of Alternative Cote d'Ivoire in an upscale suburb of Abidjan, the commercial capital, said Claver Toure, the group's executive director.

Civilian casualties rise

MOSCOW -- Islamic extremists in southern Russia are increasingly using suicide bombers, and the government's offensive against radicals in the North Caucasus has led to an increase in civilian casualties.

The number of civilians killed rose 20 percent last year to 104, even as the total number of deaths fell 24 percent from 2012, according to data collected by Caucasian Knot, a Moscow-based news and analysis group. The number of suicide bombings climbed to nine from seven.

Attention has turned to North Caucasus because of preparations for the Winter Olympics in nearby Sochi.

Retaliation threatened

KIEV, Ukraine -- Justice Minister Elena Lukash threatened retaliation Monday as protesters continued to occupy one of the ministry's buildings in central Kiev in a bid to shut down the government of President Viktor Yanukovich.

But hours passed with a state of emergency declaration. According to Ukrainian law, a state of emergency must be declared by the president and then approved by parliament within two days.

Protesters captured the Justice Ministry building late Saturday night.

Indian rape on video

WEST BENGAL, India -- Indian police have video footage and photographs of men gang raping a woman on the orders of a village elder in a case that shocked the country, according to two officers who have seen the material.

The footage and photos were taken during the Jan. 20 attack when the woman was raped by as many as 13 men in a West Bengal village, the officers said. Police recovered the footage from mobile phones confiscated while arresting the men and it will be used to prosecute them.

New Honduran president

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez took office Monday, promising to work with a fragmented Congress and stem the highest homicide rate in the world.

Mr. Hernandez, 45, will oversee an economy that has struggled under violence fueled by drug gangs with ties to Mexican cartels and an agricultural virus that cut coffee output in Central America's biggest producer. In his inaugural speech, he said he'll work with regional leaders to coordinate efforts to counter drug trafficking.

Former reporter testifies

LONDON -- A former reporter who has pleaded guilty to phone hacking while he was at Trinity Mirror's Sunday Mirror told a court Monday he was hired by News Corp.'s News of the World because of his experience accessing voice mails.

Dan Evans, told Andy Coulson, then the editor of the News Corp. tabloid, that he could bring the newspaper "big, exclusive stories cheaply" by hacking phones, Mr. Evans testified at a trial.

Mr. Coulson, a former press adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, and Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News Corp.'s British unit, are among seven people on trial for phone hacking and paying bribes to public officials.


-- Compiled from news services


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