World briefs: Massacre in Nigeria

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MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- Gunmen massacred a northeast Nigeria village Saturday in an attack that may have killed scores of people, according to police and a witness today in an area that Islamist insurgents have been targeting.

One village resident said more than 90 residents were killed by suspected members of the Boko Haram Islamist group, which has been targeting northeast villages as the nation's army cracks down on the group in metropolitan areas.

"Most of us were sleeping when all of all of a sudden we started hearing gunshots" and the Islamic incantation "Allahu akbar," or "God is great," from more than 200 suspected Boko Haram members, local resident Adamu Isa said by telephone today.

Boko Haram is seeking to impose Shariah, or Islamic law, in Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer.

Obama raps Uganda leader

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- President Barack Obama warned Uganda on Sunday over its plans to further criminalize homosexuality, saying it would "complicate our valued relationship."

Defending gay rights around the world, as he has done at home, Mr. Obama said a bill that President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to sign will mark a "step backward" for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on the country's commitment to protect the human rights of its people.

Mr. Museveni said last week that he plans to sign the new legislation, which has alarmed rights activists because it prescribes life imprisonment for acts of "aggravated homosexuality." Those acts are defined as sex acts where one of the partners is infected with HIV, sex with minors or the disabled and repeated sexual offenses among consenting adults.

Sadr says leaving politics

BAGHDAD -- Muqtada al-Sadr, the anti-American Shiite cleric who became one of Iraq's most powerful political leaders, on Saturday said he was withdrawing from politics and would no longer be represented in the Iraqi government or Parliament.

Mr. Sadr once directed a militia, the Mahdi Army, that fought U.S. forces after the 2003 invasion and Iraq's Sunnis during the country's sectarian war that followed. He built a grass-roots political movement that has followed the model of the Lebanese organization Hezbollah by fusing Shiite faith, military strength and populist programs to build political power.

Some rescued in S. Africa

JOHANNESBURG -- Emergency crews in South Africa rescued 11 miners who were trapped while working illegally in an abandoned mine shaft near Johannesburg on Sunday, but other miners remained inside because they were afraid of being arrested, emergency workers said.

More than 200 miners were initially believed to be inside the mine, based on reports from those who had been trapped underground. It was unclear how many people remained inside the mine Sunday night, but emergency crews said they had left a ladder for any other miners to use if they decided to exit.

18 feared dead in Nepal

KATMANDU, Nepal -- A Nepal Airlines plane with 18 people on board flying in bad weather was missing Sunday and feared to have crashed in Nepal's mountainous west, officials said.

It was snowing this weekend in parts of the mountainous region, and visibility was low due to fog.

A rescue helicopter was trying to reach the area where contact with the plane was lost, but the weather conditions were making it difficult.


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