World briefs: Pistorius ends his testimony

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PRETORIA, South Africa -- Oscar Pistorius's defense lawyers have started calling witnesses to back the Paralympian's testimony that he mistakenly killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in what the prosecution has alleged was a murder in a fit of rage.

The double-amputee track star spent seven days on the stand in the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa's capital, five of them being cross-examined by prosecutor Gerrie Nel about Mr. Pistorius's version that he thought he was shooting at an intruder in a toilet cubicle at his home on Valentine's Day last year.

Mr. Pistorius was excused from the witness box after defense lawyer Barry Roux asked him about his emotions at the time of the shooting.

Jet search undersea

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has moved to the dark depths of the Indian Ocean with the first deployment of an unmanned submersible to scan the seabed for signs of wreckage, officials said Tuesday.

But the inaugural mission of the torpedo-shaped submarine, a Bluefin-21, was cut short because it reached its maximum operating depth of about 2.8 miles, triggering a safety mechanism that forced it back to the surface, the Australian agency coordinating the search said.

Jordanian envoy abducted

AMMAN, Jordan -- Jordan's ambassador to Libya was kidnapped Tuesday in Tripoli by masked gunmen, officials in both countries said.

Fawaz al-Etan's motorcade came under attack from gunmen traveling in two cars. The diplomat's driver was injured, Libya's official LANA news agency reported.

No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Berlusconi sentenced

ROME -- For a man who attracted headlines -- and legal trouble -- for cavorting with bevies of young, and sometimes very young, women, being forced to spend time with people closer to his own age may be a bitter pill for Silvio Berlusconi.

Yet that is the fate that awaits Mr. Berlusconi, 77, the media mogul and former prime minister, after a Milan court Tuesday ordered him to spend at least four hours a week helping older people in a care facility in Lombardy. The sentence, a year of community service, was imposed as an alternative to the year in prison he received after a 2012 trial for tax fraud.

U.S. won't fault China

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is raising concern about the value of China's currency but is declining, as in recent years, to accuse Beijing of manipulating it.

Treasury reaches that conclusion in its twice-yearly report on whether nations are manipulating currencies to gain trade advantages.

The issue has been a point of conflict because a weaker Chinese renminbi makes Chinese goods cheaper for Americans and U.S. goods costlier in China.

Japan's population shrinks

TOKYO -- Japan's population slid for a third year with the proportion of people over the age of 65 rising to a record, underscoring the challenge the world's most-indebted economy faces in financing its aging society.

The population declined by 0.17 percent to 127.3 million as of Oct. 1. People age 65 or older made up one fourth of the total, the highest-ever percentage, as postwar baby boomers head into retirement, the Internal Affairs Ministry said.


-- Compiled from news services


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