World briefs (9/2/12)
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EL-ARISH, Egypt -- Egypt said Saturday that it had arrested a high-level Islamist militant convicted of killing troops in the Sinai Peninsula, vowing to keep up military operations to "cleanse" the volatile desert region.
Officials said the military would soon issue a detailed report on its operations in the Sinai, now in their fourth week, that started after a brazen attack by extremists on a border outpost on Aug. 5 killed 16 soldiers.
The announcements seemed intended to offset reports that Egypt's Islamist president is using former jihadists to mediate with radical Islamists in Sinai, trying to ensure a halt in militant attacks in return for stopping the military offensive in the lawless peninsula.
ISLAMABAD -- U.S. drones fired a barrage of missiles at a vehicle and a house in a Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan on Saturday, killing at least five suspected militants, Pakistani officials said.
The strikes in the North Waziristan tribal area were the first since news that a top commander of the powerful Haqqani militant network was killed in a drone strike late last month, also in the tribal region.
SHANGHAI -- Ling Jihua, a senior Chinese official and a close ally of President Hu Jintao, was named on Saturday to a new post in a move that some Communist Party experts said was a demotion and a surprising development ahead of this year's leadership transition.
Mr. Ling's appointment as head of a department that deals with trade unions and the Dalai Lama was announced online in the People's Daily, the Communist Party newspaper.
The party's once-in-a-decade leadership transition has been complicated by the worst political scandal in decades, with the detention of Bo Xilai, who had been a Politburo member, and the recent conviction of his wife in the murder of a British businessman.
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran and North Korea signed a scientific and technological cooperation agreement Saturday, bringing the two nations deeply at odds with the U.S. closer together.
Iranian state TV did not provide further details on the document but said it will include setting up joint scientific and technological laboratories, exchange of scientific teams between the two countries and transfer of technology in the fields of information technology, energy, environment, agriculture and food.
LUANDA, Angola -- President Jose Eduardo dos Santos' ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola led a preliminary ballot count Saturday with 74 percent of Friday's vote in Africa's second largest oil-producing nation.
The opposition Union for the Total Independence of Angola received 18 percent in the first election to help choose a legislature and a president in 20 years, Julia Ferreira, spokesman for the national election commission, said.
Nigeria's military said it killed five suspected members of the Islamist Boko Haram militant group Friday after they attacked a military patrol vehicle in Maiduguri, the capital of the northeastern Borno state. ... Some 300 people blocked a ring road in the Spanish capital Saturday to protest spending cuts that will leave large numbers of illegal immigrants without access to free health care.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published September 2, 2012 12:00 am