World briefs: Heavy fighting erupts in Ukraine

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MOSCOW — The simmering standoff in eastern Ukraine exploded in heavy fighting early Tuesday, with ground assaults and air bombardments by government forces throughout the region, including heavy artillery shelling around the rebel-controlled city of Slovyansk.

The fighting broke out shortly after President Petro Poroshenko declared an end to a 10-day cease-fire and ordered government forces to renew their effort to quash the pro-Russian separatist insurrection in the east.

Mr. Poroshenko’s announcement, in a nationally televised statement after midnight local time, came after two days of conference calls with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany that failed to yield concrete steps toward a peace agreement.

At least 27 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in clashes with rebels since Mr. Poroshenko announced the unilateral cease-fire on June 20, and he had come under heavy political pressure to resume military action and to cut off negotiations with the rebels, whom the government and many Ukrainians regard as terrorists.

Police detain Sarkozy

PARIS — Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president of France, was detained Tuesday for questioning by French anti-corruption investigators, a serious new turn in a blossoming criminal inquiry that threatens his hopes of a political comeback.

Mr. Sarkozy, a conservative who was president from 2007 to 2012, has not been charged, but he can be held under French law for up to 48 hours to answer questions from prosecutors.

In the past, Mr. Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing and characterized the investigation as politically motivated.

Ban on veils upheld

STRASBOURG, France — A French public ban on clothing that hides the face was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday in a decision that will have ramifications for 47 nations.

The case was brought by a French Muslim woman who said the ban on traditional garments like the burqa or the niqab — which either cover a woman’s entire body or just her face, usually only with an opening for the eyes — violated her rights.

While the court agreed that the law could impinge upon her religious freedoms and served no obvious public safety purpose, it argued that the law did not single her out as a Muslim.

More important, it ruled that the law served the greater good of trying to promote greater cohesion in society. That goal would be harder to ensure if people were allowed to hide their faces.

Turkish PM aims high

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s ruling party on Tuesday nominated Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to run in Turkey’s first directly elected presidential race in August, announcing his candidacy to thousands of cheering supporters.

The move could keep Mr. Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade, at Turkey’s helm for at least five more years.

Also in the world ...

Martin Schulz, a Socialist from Germany, was re-elected president of the European Parliament, filling another of Europe’s top jobs as governments and mainstream parties try to counter a surge by protest groups. ... A close associate of Oscar Pistorius said Tuesday at his murder in South Africa that, even on the night before the athlete killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in 2013 he was arranging for them to fly together — in business class — to a track meet in England.

— Compiled from wire services


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