World briefs: Pakistan hits rebel bases

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani fighter jets killed at least 35 people in attacks on militant bases in a remote part of the North Waziristan tribal district, the military said Wednesday, hours after local residents reported that a U.S. drone strike in the same area had killed an additional 20 people.

A Pakistani intelligence official said that fighter jets carried out airstrikes in the Shawal Valley, a remote forested area that has become a sanctuary for al-Qaida and Taliban fighters, and in several nearby districts.

The strikes targeted fighters who had fled Miram Shah and Mir Ali, the two main towns in North Waziristan that were largely abandoned by civilians and militants shortly after the start of the military offensive on June 15.

Jailed for sexual assault

CAIRO — An Egyptian court sentenced seven men to life in prison on Wednesday for sexual assaults on women during public rallies in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, in the first such heavy sentences since the government vowed to crack down on rampant sexual violence.

Sexual harassment has long been a problem in Egypt, but assaults have become more frequent and brutal since the 2011 overthrow of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, with frenzied mobs targeting women who take part in political gatherings.

WikiLeaks founder

STOCKHOLM — A Swedish court upheld on Wednesday an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent two years at Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault.

Swedish prosecutors want to question Mr. Assange over the allegations made by two female former WikiLeaks volunteers. Mr. Assange denies the allegations and has been fighting extradition since 2010..

Mr. Assange says he fears Sweden could in turn extradite him to the United States to be tried for one of the largest leaks of classified information in U.S. history.

Suspected pedophiles

LONDON — Police forces across Britain have arrested 660 suspected pedophiles during a six-month covert operation to find people accessing indecent images of children online, Britain's National Crime Agency said on Wednesday.

Doctors, teachers, scout leaders, care workers and former police officers were among those detained.

Britain has been shaken in recent years by revelations that some of its best known celebrities from the 1970s and 1980s were involved in child sex abuse.

Assad begins third term

BERUIT — In a lavish ceremony, a smiling and confident Syrian President Bashar Assad was sworn in for a third seven-year term on Wednesday in Damascus. He praised his supporters for “defeating the dirty war” and denouncing insurgents who have “failed in trying to brainwash you or break your will.”

And while new conflicts in the region have grabbed attention, Syria’s 3-year-old civil war is grinding on without reprieve, with 170,000 dead and a third of the country displaced.

Also in the world ...

Fighter jets roared off a U.S. aircraft carrier Wednesday as the United States kicked off a joint naval exercise off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula, with the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, calling for strong punishment if North Korea initiated a military provocation. ... At least 20 people have been killed and seven others injured in a typhoon that ripped through the Philippines, government officials said Wednesday.


— Compiled from wire reports


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