World briefs: U.S. warplanes support French
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WASHINGTON -- U.S. warplanes entered Somali airspace Friday in support of an attempt by French commandos to rescue a French agent held hostage by al-Shabab militants in Somalia, President Barack Obama told Congress in a letter Sunday.
The warplanes did not fire any weapons and took no direct part in the operation, the president's letter said.
The rescue attempt was a failure. The hostage, who used the name Denis Allex, was killed by his captors, and two French soldiers were killed in the raid.
The letter said the U.S. forces "provided limited technical support to the French forces." It was meant to fulfill a requirement under the War Powers Resolution that the president notify Congress within 48 hours after ordering U.S. forces into potentially hostile situations abroad, including entering the territory, waters or airspace of a foreign nation while equipped for combat.
Britain weighs EU ties
LONDON -- Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday he wants to change Britain's relationship with the European Union and that he doesn't favor an in-or-out referendum now on membership.
"We know we need to be in Europe, because we are a trading nation," he said. "But we're not happy with every aspect at the moment -- there's too much interference."
Opposition leader Ed Miliband said Sunday that the prime minister's strategy is "incredibly dangerous," accusing him of "essentially sleepwalking us toward the exit door from the EU."
Greek party HQ attacked
ATHENS, Greece -- Unidentified gunmen sprayed bullets into the headquarters of Greece's governing New Democracy Party in central Athens before dawn Monday, adding to a wave of politically motivated violence in recent days as Greece struggles with its worst economic crisis in a decade.
No one was injured in the attack, in which one bullet entered the office of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Though there was no public claim of responsibility, the episode followed a spate of attacks on other symbols of the Greek establishment that are believed to have been carried out by far-left militant groups.
Myanmar fighting spreads
BANGKOK -- Fighting in Myanmar between an ethnic rebel group and the Myanmar military threatened to spill into Chinese territory Monday, the insurgents said, with reports that shelling had killed three people in the border town of Laiza.
The Myanmar military in recent weeks has been pushing toward Laiza, the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Army, a rebel group seeking a degree of autonomy from the central government.
An officer with the KIA said the shelling killed three civilians, including a Christian missionary and a student.
N. Korea rights inquiry?
GENEVA -- In a bid to rebalance the international debate that has largely focused on North Korea's nuclear weapons program and security, the United Nations human rights chief called Monday for an international inquiry into human rights offenses committed by the North Koreans over many decades.
Navi Pillay, the Geneva-based high commissioner for human rights, drew attention to North Korea's "elaborate network of political prison camps," believed by human rights organizations to hold 200,000 prisoners.
There had been some initial hope that North Korea's change of leadership a little more than a year ago might lead to improvement in its human rights practices, he said, but "we see almost no sign of improvement."
First Published January 15, 2013 12:00 am