World briefs: U.N. says Ebola could spread

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CONAKRY, Senegal -- Africa's biggest Ebola outbreak in seven years threatens to spread from Guinea to neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia, the United Nations says.

Suspected cases of the lethal hemorrhagic disease are being investigated in southeast border areas, the World Health Organization said Monday.

At least 80 cases and 59 deaths have been recorded across the West African country, the United Nations Children's Fund said Saturday.

Cyberspying challenged

BEIJING -- China called on the United States on Monday to explain its actions and halt the practice of cyberespionage, after news reports said the National Security Agency had hacked its way into the computer systems of China's largest telecommunications company.

The reports, based on documents provided by Edward Snowden, the former security contractor, related how the spy agency penetrated servers owned by Huawei and monitored communications by its senior executives in an effort to discover whether the executives had links to the Chinese military.

U.S. officials have been working to block Huawei from entering the U.S. telecommunications market because of concerns that its equipment could provide Chinese hackers with a "back door" for stealing U.S. corporate and government secrets.

Pistorius texts revealed

PRETORIA, South Africa -- Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp argued fiercely in the turbulent weeks before he killed her last year, and the Olympian's girlfriend told him she was scared by his behavior, which included jealous outbursts in front of others, according to phone messages revealed at the murder trial Monday.

The messages suggested that both were experiencing emotional insecurity, though the exchanges revealed in court reflected prosecutors' efforts to portray Mr. Pistorius as an aggressor with a short fuse, matching earlier testimony from a former girlfriend who had said he sometimes shouted at her.

Trade accord protested

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Baton-wielding riot police Monday cleared Taiwan's Cabinet offices of scores of angry protesters opposed to a trade pact with China, escalating tensions over the island's rapidly developing ties with the communist mainland.

Authorities said they arrested 58 protesters and that 137 were injured, including 24 that were hospitalized. The crackdown came five days after mainly student demonstrators occupied the nearby legislature to protest the ruling party's decision to renege on a promised line-by-line review of the accord.

Rebels take Syrian town

BEIRUT -- Hard-line Islamic rebels captured a small town in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border as part of their offensive in the rugged coastal region that is a bastion of support for President Bashar Assad, activists said Monday.

Fighters from armed opposition groups seized the mostly Armenian Christian town of Kassab on Sunday. The rebels, including militant from the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, also have wrested control of a nearby border crossing to Turkey.

Also in the world ...

The Pentagon said Monday it is stepping up the search for fugitive rebel leader Joseph Kony in Central Africa, deploying 150 Air Force special operations troops and four tilt-rotor transport planes to Uganda to help with the manhunt. ... An explosion at a market in Ngurosoye near hideouts of Islamic extremists in northeast Nigeria killed 32 people Thursday, hospital and local government officials said Monday.


-- Compiled from news services

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