World Briefs: Indian sisters raped, killed

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LUCKNOW, India -- Two teenage sisters in rural India were raped and killed by attackers who hung their bodies from a mango tree, which became the scene of a silent protest by villagers angry about alleged police inaction in the case. Two of the four men arrested so far are police officers.

Villagers found the bodies of the girls, who were 14 and 15, hanging from the tree early Wednesday, hours after they disappeared from fields near their home in Katra village in Uttar Pradesh state, police said.

Hundreds of angry villagers stayed next to the tree throughout Wednesday, silently protesting the police response. Indian TV footage showed the villagers sitting under the girls' bodies as they swung in the wind, and preventing authorities from taking them down until the suspects were arrested.

Records show a rape is committed every 22 minutes in India, a nation of 1.2 billion people.

Twist in Pakistan slaying

LAHORE, Pakistan -- The husband of a woman stoned to death in Pakistan killed his first wife four years ago, police and relatives said Thursday, a shocking twist both showing how complicated justice can be and how dangerous life is for women in the country.

A mob of family members, including her father and brothers, beat 25-year-old Farzana Parveen to death Tuesday with bricks stolen from a construction site in the eastern city of Lahore as onlookers stood by, authorities said. The family apparently didn't want her to marry Mohammed Iqbal.

Pakistan has one of the highest rates of violence against women globally. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a private group, said in a report last month that some 869 women were murdered in honor killings in 2013.

Pacific missile defense

The United States is considering deploying more regional missile-defense systems in the Pacific to counter North Korea, said the Pentagon's second-ranking officer, Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., Tuesday.

The comments came as the Pentagon is reportedly exploring the idea of placing a similar system in South Korea. South Korea is thought to be hesitant to participate in a regional missile shield with the United States and Japan, preferring to develop its own instead.

Eurasian economic pact

ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- The presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus formally signed an agreement Thursday to create a limited economic union, the Eurasian Economic Union -- an alliance hobbled by the absence of Ukraine but one long pursued by President Vladimir Putin of Russia to confirm his country as a global economic force.

The missing guest at the party was Ukraine. The previous government in Kiev tacked back and forth on whether it would join the EU or the new Eurasian group, eventually prompting enough public anger to bring down the president in February.

Also in the world ...

Egypt's presidential election fell short of international standards of democracy, two teams of foreign observers said Thursday, a day after the former military officer who led last summer's military takeover won a landslide victory with more than 95 percent of the vote. ... Officials of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters on Thursday announced at the World Science Festival in New York that nine scientists had won this year's Kavli prizes; the winners will split million-dollar prizes awarded in three categories: astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience.

-- Compiled from news services



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