World briefs: China boosts its military

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WASHINGTON -- China's air force is fielding new precision-guided cruise missiles, long-range bombers and drones as its Navy expands its long-range punch, according to U.S. military intelligence officials.

"While we would not characterize the modernization as accelerated," it's "progressing at a steady pace" and is significant, Lee Fuell, a director at the Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center, said in a presentation released Thursday.

While China's military spending is less than one-fifth of the United States's, President Xi Jinping has vowed to create a strong and disciplined military since he took control of the Central Military Commission when he became party secretary in November 2012. Under Mr. Xi, the Chinese navy has conducted military drills in the Pacific and the South China Sea, and in November the nation declared an air defense identification zone over islands disputed with Japan.

Musharraf request denied

ISLAMABAD -- A special court on Friday rejected a request by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to leave Pakistan for medical treatment and instead issued arrest warrants in the treason case against him, according to lawyers in the case.

The three-member court, led by Justice Faisal Arab, is trying Mr. Musharraf on charges that he subverted the constitution in late 2007 when he imposed emergency rule and fired much of the judiciary.

Mr. Musharraf, 70, denies the charges, calling the case a "political vendetta."

Japan broadcaster faulted

TOKYO -- These are hard times for NHK, Japan's influential public broadcaster, which faces an increasing number of accusations that the pro-nuclear, right-wing government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is interfering in its work.

NHK's new president, Katsuto Momii, a former vice president at a trading company, seemed to confirm those fears in his inaugural news conference last weekend, when he stated, "We cannot say left when the government says right."

On Friday, Mr. Momii was summoned by a parliamentary committee to explain this and other comments that seemed to run against the stated mission of the embattled broadcaster, which is funded by fees collected from everyone who owns a television set, to report the news without fear or favor.

Museum repairs costly

CAIRO -- The Egyptian government says it needs $14 million to repair The Museum of Islamic Art and bring it to international standards with sophisticated security systems, bombproof glass and other protective measures. Government specialists have been painstakingly collecting the damaged items.

A truck bomb blast Jan. 24 that tore through this 111-year-old museum was aimed at Cairo's police headquarters across the street, killing four people and injuring 76.

Detainees to join talks

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- South Sudan's government said four politicians it detained following an alleged coup attempt will be able to participate in peace talks that resume next month, a key rebel demand.

The detainees, including Pagan Amum, the former secretary- general of South Sudan's ruling party, will be released at the end of initial investigations into their involvement.

Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said in an interview in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. Seven other suspects were transferred to Kenya on Jan. 29.


-- Compiled from news services


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