World briefs (12/23/12)
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Quran burning incites lynching
PESHAWAR, Parkistan -- Police said a mob of more than 200 people in southern Pakistan stormed a police station to seize a mentally unstable Muslim man accused of burning a copy of Islam's holy book. The crowd beat him to death, and then set fire to his body. Police arrested 30 people.
The case is likely to raise further concerns about the country's harsh blasphemy laws, which can result in a death sentence or life in prison to anyone found guilty. An accusation or investigation alone can lead to deaths, as people take the law into their own hands and kill those accused of violating it. Police stations and even courts have been attacked by mobs.
Past attempts by governments in predominantly Muslim Pakistan to review these laws have met with violent opposition from hardline Islamist parties.
BERLIN -- A German aid worker abducted in Pakistan 11 months ago was seen alive in a video broadcast Saturday urging authorities to fully meet his captors' demands, warning that otherwise they could kill him within days. The undated video of the man who identifies himself as 59-year-old Bernd Muehlenbeck -- probably recorded under duress by his captors -- was broadcast Saturday by Pakistan's Dunya TV. While declining to elaborate, the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin said it "knows the case" and is aware of the video.
In Yemen, two Finnish nationals and an Austrian man were abducted Friday by gunmen in the capital of Sanaa, Finland's foreign ministry said in an emailed statement Saturday.
The men responsible for the kidnapping Wednesday of a French citizen in northern Nigeria are believed to be linked to al-Qaida's North African affiliate or other radical Islamist groups in northern Mali, French officials said Friday. A guard and another man at the French engineer's residence were killed.
Haiti gives mining permits
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's government announced Friday that it has awarded permits for the first time in the country's history to allow two companies to openly mine for gold and copper.
The nation's mining director, Ludner Remarais, said he hopes the move will bring a badly needed burst of money to the impoverished Caribbean country of 10 million people where many live on a $1.25 a day.
3 militants sentenced
SANAA, Yemen -- Yemen's state security court has sentenced three al-Qaida militants to up to six years in prison for planning attacks on security forces, foreign diplomatic missions and state institutions. The defendants have the right to appeal.
Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has ordered trials for dozens of al-Qaida suspects held without charges for over a year. Washington considers al-Qaida's Yemen branch as the militant group's most dangerous.
Also in the world ...
Following talks Saturday with party leaders at the Quirinale Palace in Rome, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano dissolved Parliament, paving the way for elections in February that will focus on Prime Minister Mario Monti's austerity policies. ... South Africans are marveling at the endurance of a toad that got trapped in a weeks-long cargo shipment from China to Cape Town after jumping into a porcelain candlestick that was made there. Plans for euthanasia, spurred by fear of invasive species, were canceled and the toad instead sat in the cockpit on a flight to an animal sanctuary.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published December 23, 2012 12:00 am