World briefs: Nigeria mob attacks gays

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DAKAR, Senegal -- A mob attacked gay people in a neighborhood in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, dragging young men from their homes, beating them with nail-studded clubs and whips, and shouting that they were "cleansing the community" of gays, several Nigerian activists and a witness said Saturday.

The attack took place late Wednesday night in the Gishiri neighborhood, and one victim was beaten nearly to death, the witness said. Afterward, the mob of about 50 young men dragged four of the victims to a nearby police station, where the police further beat and insulted them, said the witness, identified as John. His last name is being withheld for his safety.

The attack came in the wake of a new law signed by President Goodluck Jonathan prescribing prison sentences of up to 14 years for gay people. There have been recent episodes of similar mob violence in the Muslim-dominated north of Nigeria.

About 14 young men were assaulted, the activists said, and no members of the mob were arrested.

New Cabinet in Lebanon

BEIRUT -- Lebanon's new prime minister, Tammam Salam, announced the formation of a Cabinet on Saturday that represents many of the country's deeply divided political factions, ending a nearly 11-month standoff that had left the government ill-equipped to deal with increasing violence and a growing Syrian refugee population.

The Cabinet's 24 members span the political spectrum, including Hezbollah, the militant Shiite organization and its Western-backed foes. But because of key disagreements among the parties, few expect the Cabinet to address Lebanon's myriad problems effectively. In a televised address, Mr. Salam called on all parties to work together to save Lebanon.

Italy deciding on prime minister

ROME -- President Giorgio Napolitano said he needs more time to choose the next prime minister after two days of talks with parliamentary groups, the biggest of which urged that Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi be named.

The next prime minister will inherit a stagnant economy and a fragmented legislature that still has four years left in its term Mr. Renzi, 39, who leads the largest party in Parliament, toppled Enrico Letta's government Feb. 14 and is the frontrunner to get the mandate. Lawmakers from his Democratic Party put Mr. Renzi's name forward Friday in their meeting with Mr. Napolitano.

Berlin Film Festival winners

BERLIN -- Director Diao Yinan's "Black Coal, Thin Ice," a detective thriller set in northern China, won the Berlin International Film Festival's main Golden Bear prize Saturday. The movie also picked up the best actor award, which went to Liao Fan.

"Black Coal, Thin Ice," Mr. Diao's third feature film, stars Mr. Liao as a former policeman turned detective investigating a mysterious series of killings in a gritty industrial region that started when he was an officer. He is drawn to a mysterious woman who appears to be connected to the victims.

Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel," a caper set in a fictional spa town in pre-World War II Europe with a strong ensemble cast including Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray and Edward Norton, won the jury grand prize, which comes with a runner-up Silver Bear.

American filmmaker Richard Linklater took the best director honor for "Boyhood." Japan's Haru Kuroki was named best actress for her part in "The Little House."

An eight-member jury under "Brokeback Mountain" producer James Schamus chose the winners.


-- Compiled from news services


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