World briefs: Holder pushes anti-terror laws

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WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday implored more European countries to adopt U.S.-style counterterrorism laws and tactics, including undercover stings to prevent potential terrorists from traveling to Syria.

Mr. Holder’s speech in Oslo, Norway, amounted to a full-throated endorsement of America’s pre-emptive counterterrorism strategy, which began in earnest under President George W. Bush. The FBI has created elaborate ruses to ensnare people who express interest in joining terrorist groups or attacking America. That has led to a number of high-profile cases but also criticism that the United States is manufacturing terrorism cases and entrapping Muslims.

“In the face of a threat so grave, we cannot afford to be passive,” Mr. Holder said in prepared remarks. “Rather, we need the benefit of investigative and prosecutorial tools that allow us to be pre-emptive in our approach to confronting this problem.”

Militants strike capital

MOGADISHU, Somalia —- Islamist militants attacked Somalia's presidential compound on Tuesday with a car bomb and gunmen broke through a perimeter wall but were repulsed by security forces, but the president was not there at the time, the interior ministry said.

Up to five members of the al Shabaab Islamist group, which claimed responsibility, were killed, Interior Minister Abdullahi Godah Barre told Reuters.

Pistorius’ defense rests

PRETORIA, South Africa — Before the High Court in Pretoria, the South African capital, Oscar Pistorius has been depicted variously as anguished and remorseful, egotistic, enamored of guns and filled with rage that propelled him to kill his girlfriend last year.

But on Tuesday, defense lawyers rested their case and the hearings adjourned to permit both sides to prepare their written arguments before they return to court on Aug. 7 and 8 to make their final oral arguments.

Typhoon strikes Japan

TOKYO — One man died, more than 500,000 people were urged to evacuate and hundreds of flights were canceled Tuesday in Japan as a strong typhoon brought torrential rain and high winds to its southwestern islands and could bring heavy rain to Tokyo later this week.

The storm was at its most powerful when passing Okinawa, some 1,000 miles southwest of Tokyo on Tuesday, but the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) warned of heavy rains and potential flooding in Kyushu, the westernmost of Japan's main islands, as well as heavy rain in the rest of the nation.

Ex-general loses support

TRIPOLI, Libya — Just weeks after he launched a popular revolt against the Islamist militants plaguing Libya’s east, rogue general Khalifa Hifter already is losing support for his war.

But the former general’s offensive has since given way to a deadly stalemate, in which at least 200 people have been killed, according to the government. Mr. Hifter’s calls to rid the country of Islamists are also raising concerns that he harbors bigger political ambitions.

Vatican bank shake-up

ROME — Pope Francis plans to replace the board and executives at the Vatican Bank after a year of reorganization at the scandal-plagued institution in which more than 2,000 accounts were blocked and profit dropped 97 percent.

Pope Francis, 77, has focused on improving transparency and compliance at the IOR, which was tainted last year when a senior Vatican cleric was arrested in Italy on fraud charges.

— Compiled from wire services.


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