World briefs: Rebels ambush Muslim pilgrims

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MANILA, Philippines — Muslim rebels opposed to a peace deal with the government opened fire on about 50 people on their way to a Islamic religious celebration Monday in the southern Philippines, killing at least 21 and wounding 13, military officials said.

The dead included 14 women and girls, a 2-year-old boy and an elderly man.

The group, which included 10 village police officials and about 40 civilians, was traveling between two remote villages when men positioned on both sides of the road fired automatic weapons at their vehicles, said Capt. Rowena Muyuela, a military spokeswoman.

The caravan on the tiny violence-plagued island of Jolo was heading to a celebration of the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Church symbols targeted

BEIJING — In another sign of the authorities’ efforts to contain one of China’s fastest-growing religions, a government demolition campaign against public symbols of the Christian faith has toppled crosses at two more churches in the coastal province of Zhejiang, according to residents.

On Monday, public security officials in the city of Wenzhou used a crane and blowtorch to cut loose the red, 10-foot crucifix that had adorned the Longgang Township Gratitude Church, witnesses said.

On Friday, congregants at the Wenling Church in the city of Taizhou faced off with as many as 4,000 police officers but ultimately failed to prevent the removal of two crosses from atop their building. One congregant said as many as 40 people were detained during the standoff.

Oil fire rages in Libya

CAIRO — A fire at the oil depot for the airport in Libya’s capital raged out of control Monday after being struck in the crossfire of warring militias battling for control of the airfield.

Libya’s interim government said in a statement that the fire could trigger a “humanitarian and environmental disaster” in Tripoli, appealing for “international help” to extinguish the inferno. It did not say what it specifically needed.

The blaze had spread to a second depot by Monday afternoon, the government said. It was unclear if there were any injuries from the fire.

U.S.: Russia violated pact

WASHINGTON — The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior U.S. officials — a finding that was conveyed by President Barack Obama to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in a letter Monday.

It is the most serious allegation of an arms control treaty violation that the Obama administration has leveled against Russia and adds another dispute to a relationship already burdened by tensions over the Kremlin’s support for separatists in Ukraine and its decision to grant asylum to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.

Russia loses Yukos ruling

LONDON — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government must pay $50 billion for using tax claims to destroy Yukos, once the country’s largest oil producer, and its Kremlin-critical CEO, an international court ruled Monday.

The verdict by the Permanent Court for Arbitration increases the economic and diplomatic isolation of Russia at a time when it faces new, potentially painful sanctions from Western powers.

Borders nearly closed

MONROVIA, Liberia — Liberia closed almost all of its borders Monday in a bid to halt the spread of Ebola after a third doctor working to contain the virus in West Africa contracted the deadly disease.

Only five entry points, including James Spriggs Payne Airport in the capital, Monrovia, as well as Roberts International Airport, about 30 miles farther east, remained open, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said.

— Compiled from news services



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