World briefs: China warns Hong Kong

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HONG KONG — China warned Hong Kong on Tuesday that there were limits to its freedom and it should adhere strictly to the law ahead of a planned pro-democracy protest that could end up shutting down part of the financial hub's business district.

As the most liberal city on Chinese soil, the former British colony has grappled with Beijing since its return to Chinese rule in 1997 to preserve its freedoms and capitalist way of life under a “one-country, two-systems” formula.

Over the past year, however, a push by democracy activists to hold protests, as part of a campaign for the right to choose candidates for a poll in 2017 to elect Hong Kong's next leader, has stoked friction and unnerved Beijing leaders fearful of an opposition democrat taking the city's highest office. China's State Council, or cabinet, reiterated in a “white paper” on the “one-country, two-systems” formula that the city, despite its wide-ranging autonomy, comes under the control of China and has limits to its freedom.

Iran nuke talks stalled

GENEVA — Iran, after talks with senior U.S. officials, questioned whether a July deadline for a nuclear deal with world powers will be met, fueling doubts on the outcome as France spoke out, saying talks on curbing Tehran's uranium enrichment had “hit a wall".

Iran's talks with six major powers on curbing its nuclear program in exchange for an end to Western sanctions could be extended for six months if no deal is reached by a July 20 deadline agreed by all parties, a senior Iranian official said.

Karachi airport hit again

LONDON — Retaliating against a new wave of military airstrikes, Pakistani Taliban gunmen on Tuesday attacked security forces at Karachi’s international airport for the second time in two days, underscoring their capacity to create mayhem in the country’s largest city.

The assault, in which at least two gunmen opened fire on a guard post at the airport perimeter, caused no casualties and ended with the gunmen fleeing into a nearby slum. By contrast, at least 36 people died in the first attack on Sunday, which lasted through the night.

But the brief shootout did cause Jinnah International Airport, Pakistan’s busiest airfield, to temporarily close for the second time in 48 hours.

Cross dressers arrested

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s Islamic authorities imprisoned 16 men dressed as women after a raid on a wedding just outside the capital Kuala Lumpur, activists and police confirmed Tuesday.

Pang Khee Teik, leader of gay rights advocacy group Seksualiti Merdeka, said a Sharia court on Monday sentenced 16 of the group to seven days’ imprisonment and fined them $296, while the remaining accused, a minor, was allowed to go home.

Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country with more than 30 million people.

Ebola death toll rising

CONAKRY, Guinea — One preacher advocated fasting and prayer to spare people from a virus that usually leads to a horrible death. Some people pray that the Ebola outbreaks, which are hitting three countries in West Africa, stay away from their home areas.

But more than a month after Guinea President Alpha Conde told reporters the Ebola outbreak that originated in his country was under control, the death toll continues to climb in his country as well as in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

At least 231 people have died since the outbreak of the fearsome disease, which causes bleeding internally and externally and for which there is no known cure.


-- Combined news services


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