World briefs: Scientists doubt 'AIDS detector'

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CAIRO -- Egypt's military leaders have come under ridicule after the chief army engineer unveiled what he described as a "miraculous" set of devices that detect and cure AIDS, hepatitis and other viruses.

The claim, dismissed by experts, strikes a blow to the army's carefully managed image as the savior of the nation.

None of the research has been published in a reputable journal.

N. Korea fires 4 missiles

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea fired four short-range missiles Thursday, the first confirmed launch in more than nine months, disrupting a period of easing tensions with the South.

The missiles had a range of at least 120 miles, South Korea's Defense Ministry said.

The missile launches came just two days after the countries wrapped up the first reunions in more than three years of families divided by the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended without a peace treaty.

NATO supply blockade ends

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- The ruling political party of Pakistan's northwest said Thursday it ended a more than three-month blockade of a NATO supply route to Afghanistan over contentious U.S. drone strikes in the country.

The Tehreek-e-Insaf party, led by cricket star turned politician Imran Khan, had been blocking the route since November to pressure Washington to end drone attacks targeting Islamic militants in northwest Pakistan.

Uganda facing aid cuts

KAMPALA, Uganda -- Uganda's government has been hit with substantial aid cuts after the president enacted a severe anti-gay measure over which some Western governments had warned of consequences.

At least three European countries -- the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark-- are withdrawing millions in direct support to Uganda's government, which depends on donors for about 20 percent of its budget. The countries said they would continue supporting non-government groups in Uganda.

'El Chapo' supporters rally

MEXICO CITY -- Hundreds of Mexicans marched in support of drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the criminal mastermind captured last weekend after eluding authorities for 13 years, witnesses said.

The demonstrators demanded his freedom during marches Wednesday evening in three cities in Sinaloa, the state that was the birthplace of Mr. Guzman's vast multibillion-dollar drug empire.

Israel faulted on rights

JERUSALEM -- Israeli security forces use excessive force against Palestinians in the West Bank and display "callous disregard" for human life, Amnesty International said Thursday.

In a report called "Trigger-Happy: Israel's Use of Excessive Force in the West Bank," the human rights organization says Israeli soldiers and police killed 45 Palestinians since 2011, nearly half of them last year.

In all cases examined by the group, the Palestinians killed did not appear to pose a direct or immediate threat to life, Amnesty said.

Attack kills 11 in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- A car bomb blast Thursday in a normally quiet Mogadishu neighborhood blew the facade off a tea shop where intelligence officers are known to congregate, killing at least 11 people, police said.

The al-Qaida-linked group al-Shabab has increased the frequency of attacks in Somalia's capital in recent weeks.

-- Compiled from news services

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