World Briefs: Taliban clashes kill dozens

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ISLAMABAD -- Clashes this week between two competing factions of the Pakistani Taliban in the country's remote northwest killed dozens of fighters, intelligence officials and militant commanders said Friday.

The clashes, the result of a power struggle in the militant group, come at a time when the government is trying to negotiate a peace deal with the Pakistani Taliban. The violence likely will complicate those efforts.

One senior Taliban commander put the number of dead at 23. Other Taliban commanders and intelligence officials put the number as high as 43.

Kenya faulted for arrests

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Human rights groups criticized the Kenyan government for detaining thousands of ethnic Somalis in a week-long security crackdown aimed at averting the threat of what it calls "terrorist activities."

Kenya has deported at least 82 people and rounded up more than 3,000 since Operation Usalama Watch, which means "security" in Swahili, began on April 4.

A sports stadium in the capital of Nairobi has been converted into a temporary police detention center.

Turkish court limits PM

ISTANBUL -- Turkey's highest court Friday overturned the provision of a new law that gave the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan greater control over the judiciary.

Critics said the law harmed the country's separation of powers and was part of a broader effort on the part of Mr. Erdogan to push back against a corruption investigation that has encircled him and his top aides.

Venezuela rivals hold talks

CARACAS -- Venezuela's government held televised talks with the opposition for the first time since the outbreak of protests against inflation and rising crime that have roiled the nation and left at least 39 dead.

The talks took place at the presidential palace in Caracas and lasted more than five and a half hours, ending Friday morning. Follow-up talks are set for Tuesday.

Rio police, squatters clash

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Violent clashes broke out Friday between police officers and squatters when the authorities dislodged thousands of families from a newly formed favela, or slum, in a complex of abandoned commercial buildings, focusing attention on the rising tension over surging rents and housing shortages.

Just two months before Brazil is to host the World Cup soccer tournament in Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities, police officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the squatters at a decaying property in the city's gritty northern zone owned by Oi, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Brazil.

Weakened cyclone strikes

COOKTOWN, Australia -- Cyclone Ita weakened to a Category 2 storm as it moved across Queensland with winds of 81 miles per hour, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.

The cyclone went ashore at about 10 p.m. Friday as a Category 4 system.


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