World Briefs: Japan widens arms policy

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TOKYO -- Taking his nation another step away from its postwar pacifism, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discarded a half-century ban on the export of weapons and military hardware Tuesday, a move aimed at helping Japan assume a larger regional security role in order to offset China's growing military might.

The decision replaced Japan's self-imposed ban dating to the late 1960s with new, still-restrictive guidelines that permit the export of weapons only to allies and partners who agree not to sell them to third nations without Japanese approval.

Stem-cell study flawed

TOKYO -- Japan's Riken research center said Tuesday that some data were falsified in a pair of studies that had outlined a simpler, quicker way of making stem cells.

Haruko Obokata, who had led the studies, was solely responsible for the misconduct, Riken's investigation committee said in documents provided at a briefing. Co-authors Teruhiko Wakayama at University of Yamanashi and Yoshiki Sasai at Riken bear "heavy responsibility" for allowing the papers to be submitted to the journal Nature without verifying the accuracy of the data, the committee concluded.

World Bank ups lending

WASHINGTON -- The World Bank announced Tuesday that it is doubling its potential lending to so-called middle-income countries like China, India and Brazil, adding about $100 billion in new financing capacity over the next decade.

The move will bolster the resources available to the fast-growing developing countries where most of the world's poorest people live, and comes while the bank is undergoing a sweeping reorganization.

Paramilitary groups curbed

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's parliament Tuesday ordered law enforcement agencies to immediately disarm unofficial paramilitary groups, signaling growing resolve in the interim government to confront nationalists and other vigilantes who played a key role in the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych, the country's pro-Kremlin former president deposed more than a month ago.

The bill, introduced and passed unanimously, ordered both the Interior Ministry and the Security Service of Ukraine, the country's successor to the KGB, to disarm the groups because of the "aggravation of the crime situation and systematic provocations on the part of foreigners in southeastern Ukraine and in Kiev."

Lebanese crackdown

BEIRUT -- Lebanese security forces on Tuesday took control of the restive northern city of Tripoli, driving out sectarian militias sympathetic to both sides of the civil war in Syria that had brought the city to the brink of chaos.

The Lebanese military deployed troops throughout embattled neighborhoods and arrested lower-ranking militia members. But it moved slowly enough that the top militia leaders were able to escape -- drawing high-profile mockery.

Drug lord slain

MEXICO CITY -- Naval commandos seeking to dismantle organized crime in the state of Michoacan killed the No. 3 leader of a group known as the Knights Templar just weeks after slaying its top boss.

Enrique "El Kike" Plancarte Solis, 43, had fled Michoacan and died early Monday night after a shootout with naval commandos in Colon in nearby Queretaro state, National Security commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said Tuesday. He said authorities had checked fingerprints and conducted other tests to confirm Mr. Plancarte's identity.

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