World briefs: Iraq militants push as politics stall

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BAGHDAD -- As Iraq's deadlocked Parliament was again unable to reach a deal to name a new speaker Sunday, Sunni militants carried out a raid near Baghdad, the Iraqi capital -- a symbolically significant attack signaling their intent to move closer to the city.

A severe sandstorm delayed flights, preventing northern Iraq's Kurdish lawmakers from traveling to Baghdad.

With such a hazy outlook, the inability of the Kurds to make it through the brown sandy fog provided a useful excuse for the postponement of the negotiating session.

As lawmakers took stock, militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria already were moving into Dhuluiya, a Sunni town 46 miles northeast of Baghdad. They bombed a crucial bridge over the Tigris and then easily overwhelmed the police station, killing six officers, according to a town resident and an official at the Interior Ministry, who declined to be named because he was not allowed to speak to the news media.

Activist pledges assistance

ABUJA -- Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education, has pledged while on a trip to Nigeria to help free a group of school girls abducted by Islamist militants.

On Sunday, 16-year-old Malala met with parents of the more than 200 girls who were kidnapped by militant group Boko Haram from a school in the northeastern village of Chibok in April.

"I can see those girls as my sisters ... and I'm going to speak up for them until they are released," said Malala, who celebrates her 17th birthday today in Nigeria, where she is scheduled to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan.

Syria resolution divides U.N.

The U.N. Security Council was headed for a showdown today over getting food and medicine to millions of needy Syrians.

The diplomatic confrontation is a measure of how difficult it is for the world powers to agree on much, least of all on the crisis in Syria, where Russia and the West support opposing sides in the civil war.

The draft resolution would authorize the U.N. to send aid convoys over four specific border crossings, even without Syrian government consent, but only after U.N. monitors inspect what was loaded onto the trucks.

The monitoring mechanism is tricky. It potentially sets a precedent, requiring aid workers in future crises to jump through hoops to deliver food and medicine. It is ostensibly intended to assuage the Syrian government's fear of arms being smuggled in, though in truth the supply of guns and rockets seems to be far greater than, say, grains and medicine.

Pope discusses child abusers

ROME -- About 2 percent of Roman Catholic clerics are sexual abusers, an Italian newspaper on Sunday quoted Pope Francis as saying, adding that the pontiff considered the crime "a leprosy in our house".

But the Vatican issued a statement saying some parts of a long article in the left-leaning La Repubblica were not accurate, including one that quoted the pope as saying that there were cardinals among the abusers.

Also in the world...

Seven people were killed and 36 wounded on Sunday in the worst clashes in the Libyan capital for six months, the Health Ministry said. ... The number of internally displaced people registered with the Fata Disaster Management Authority reached 910,040 on Saturday as those fleeing from the North Waziristan region of Pakistan face health related challenges.

Compiled from news services

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