World briefs: Intra-rebel battle looms

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BEIRUT -- Fighters from the extremist Syrian rebel group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria withdrew Friday from key positions along the border with Turkey in apparent preparation for an anticipated offensive against their positions by rival rebel factions.

The ISIS forces abandoned their positions in the strategic town of Azaz and at a major border crossing with Turkey in what appeared to be an effort to fortify their hold on the group's power center in the eastern province of Raqqa. It also pulled back from the Mannagh air base north of Aleppo and from other nearby villages, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The move came four days after a rival extremist group, the Nusra Front, threatened ISIS with retaliation over the suicide-bomb assassination of a key al-Qaida figure and set a five-day deadline for ISIS to make concessions. Warfare between ISIS and most other rebel factions has killed more than 3,000 since rivalries broke into violence Jan. 3.

Libyans demand security

TRIPOLI, Libya -- Thousands of Libyans Friday took to the streets in several areas of the country, protesting a lack of security.

Protesters gathered outside the Mosque of al-Shohada (Martyrs) in the center of the capital of Tripoli, accusing the National Congress, the country's highest authority and the interim government, of failing to maintain security.

Libya has been hit by attacks on government buildings and security personnel since an armed revolt toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Obama plans Mideast role

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama, after avoiding a hands-on role in Middle East peacemaking since the setbacks of his first term, plans to plunge back into the effort, his advisers said this week, starting with an urgent appeal to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

When he welcomes Mr. Netanyahu to the White House on Monday, these officials said, Mr. Obama will press him to agree to a "framework" for a conclusive round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations that is being drafted by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Dog's killer sentenced

EDMONTON, Canada -- A man who killed an Edmonton police dog has been sentenced to 26 months in prison.

Paul Joseph Vukmanich has been banned from a owning a pet for 25 years.

The judge said Vukmanich didn't just attack a dog, but attacked society "and what's meaningful in society."

The court heard testimony that Vukmanich was high on drugs and fleeing from the police last fall when he repeatedly stabbed the German shepherd named Quanto. Vukmanich, 27, pleaded guilty earlier this week to animal cruelty and other offenses, including evading the police.

Japan's war legacy

TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stepped up a war of words with China, alleging an international campaign to taint Japan's image by focusing on past militarism rather than decades of peace since World War II.

"There's propaganda to depict Japan in a way that's far from the truth," Mr. Abe said in Parliament Friday in Tokyo. "There is danger emerging, where such propaganda will have a huge influence on our children's generation."

His remarks came days after China announced national days to commemorate Japan's war defeat and a massacre in Nanjing by Japanese troops in 1937.


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