World Briefs / Egypt trial set for verdict

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CAIRO -- The judge in one of the largest trials of supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi declared Saturday he will issue verdicts for the more than 500 defendants after only two sessions, said lawyers who decried the move as violating the norms of a fair trial.

The 545 defendants are standing trial in relation to violence following the August dispersal by security forces of two pro-Morsi protests in Cairo, in which hundreds were killed. In an apparent backlash, police stations, churches and government buildings were stormed by suspected Morsi supporters across Egypt.

The defendants are accused of attacking a police station in Matay in the southern province of Minya, stealing government weapons, killing one police officer and attempting to kill two others, Egypt's state news agency said. More than 400 defendants are still at large and are being tried in absentia, defense lawyer Khaled el-Koumi said.

Thousands of Morsi supporters have been arrested since the military ousted him following mass protests against him. It is one of the largest security sweeps in Egypt's modern history.

Deadly West Bank raid

JENIN, West Bank -- Israeli troops killed three Palestinians in an early morning raid that was followed by a clash with angry protesters in a West Bank town on Saturday, the military and Palestinian security officials said, in the deadliest incident in months.

The violence came amid a recent spike in clashes in the West Bank that could complicate the already troubled peace efforts as the sides near an April deadline set under U.S.-sponsored talks.

Saturday's incident started with an Israeli raid in Jenin, which the military said aimed to arrest Hamza Abu el-Heija, a 22-year-old Hamas operative wanted for involvement in shooting and bombing attacks against Israelis.

China spots large object

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- China said Saturday that its satellite spotted a large object floating in the same south Indian Ocean area that has become a focal point in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.

The report of the Chinese image came amid concerns that any objects seen by satellite days ago may already have sunk, but it is still likely to give further impetus to the multinational search in the so-called southern corridor that is thought to be a likely path taken by Flight 370, though it had flown from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing.

Dozens killed in collision

ISLAMABAD -- At least 33 people were killed Saturday in a collision involving two tanker trucks and two passenger buses on a coastal highway in southern Pakistan, officials said. At least 20 others were injured, many with severe burns.

The buses were both carrying inferior and cheaper gasoline and diesel canisters smuggled from Iran on their roofs, Pakistani officials said, and the vehicles erupted into a huge fireball.

Turkey wipes egg from face

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's government Saturday accused Twitter of allowing "systematic character assassinations" a day after social media users easily evaded a government attempt to block access to the network.

The attempted crackdown came after links to wiretapped recordings suggesting corruption were posted on Twitter, causing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government major embarrassment before local elections next Sunday.

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