World Briefs: Downed plane rouses Ukraine

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KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s government said Russian forces may have shot down one of its airplanes to bolster the Kremlin-backed insurgency amid a European push for peace talks that Germany expects to inch forward today.

An An-26 transport plane was shot down in eastern Ukraine Monday by a “powerful weapon” not previously used by the separatists, probably from inside Russia, Defense Minister Valeriy Geletey told President Petro Poroshenko, according to the president’s website. The plane was hit at 6,500 meters, an altitude shoulder-fired missiles can’t reach, he said.

Fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, which has claimed hundreds of lives, intensified after Mr. Poroshenko called off a cease-fire July 1

Officials from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe agreed to hold a video conference today with rebel representatives that should pave the way for face-to-face talks to find a way to end the conflict, Germany’s government said Monday.

U.N. OKs Syria aid

NEW YORK — Despite objections by Syria’s government, the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted Monday to authorize cross-border convoys of emergency aid to millions of deprived Syrian civilians in rebel-held areas without prior approval by the Syrian authorities.

Nearly half of Syria’s population — 10.8 million people — are now in need of assistance because of the war, and many of them live in areas not controlled by the government of President Bashar Assad.

Russia and China, which have historically backed Assad in the conflict, voted for the resolution, joining the three other permanent members of the council — Britain, France and the United States — which have strongly supported the moderate elements of Assad’s political opposition.

Clashes cripple Libya

BENGHAZI, Libya — The United Nations on Monday pulled its staff out of Libya where at least 13 people have been killed in fighting in the eastern city of Benghazi and in Tripoli, forcing the closure of the international airport.

Three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has slipped deeper into chaos with its weak government and new army unable to control brigades of former rebel fighters and militias who often battle for political and economic power.

N. Korea ups tension

TOKYO — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un flexed his military muscles again Monday, as his country fired more than 100 rockets and artillery shells into the sea near the border with South Korea, just a day after firing two ballistic missiles over the peninsula.

The North Korean leader has steadily been ratcheting up tensions with his neighbors since he took over from his father, Kim Jong Il, 2 1/2 years ago, leading to perceptions in Washington that he is both erratic and weak.

Ban’s Haiti ‘pilgrimage’

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon flew to Haiti on Monday for what he called a “necessary pilgrimage” to promote efforts to alleviate a cholera epidemic that has killed thousands and has been linked to the U.N.’s own peacekeepers.

Mr. Ban is seeking support for a $2.2 billion, 10-year cholera-elimination campaign that he launched in December 2012 with the presidents of Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic.

Compiled from news services



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