World briefs: Egypt's pound hits new low
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CAIRO -- The Egyptian pound fell to a record low against the dollar Sunday as the central bank stepped into the market to try to stabilize trading and stop an anxious public that has been buying up dollars for fear of an even bigger dive in the local currency, bankers said.
The pound slid more than 3 percent on the first trading day after the central bank introduced a new dollar auction system that bankers said appeared designed to allow a "controlled devaluation" of the Egyptian pound. Many economists consider the pound overvalued and propped up by the government, which has used fast-dwindling foreign currency reserves to keep the value artificially high.
Egypt is grappling with a crippling deficit and foreign reserves have fallen to $15 billion from $36 billion in 2010, before the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
As the currency weakened, Prime Minister Hesham Kandil said Egypt will resume talks in January with the International Monetary Fund after Cairo suspended its request for a $4.8 billion IMF loan during the recent political turmoil over the disputed constitution.
Envoy warns on Syria
BEIRUT -- The international envoy seeking to end Syria's civil war warned Sunday that the failure of the government and the rebels to pursue a political solution could lead to the "full collapse of the Syrian state" and threaten the world's security.
Lakhdar Brahimi, who represents the United Nations and the Arab League, said that as many as 100,000 people could be killed in the next year as Syria moves toward "Somalization" and rule by warlords.
Mr. Brahimi has reported little progress in his mission to push forward a peace plan for Syria first presented in June at an international conference in Geneva. The proposal calls for an open-ended cease-fire and the formation of a transitional government to run the country until new elections can be held and a new constitution drafted.
Israel's Lieberman indicted
JERUSALEM -- Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's controversial former foreign minister, was indicted Sunday on charges of fraud and breach of trust.
The indictment, issued in a Jerusalem court, followed a long investigation into accusations of corruption against Mr. Lieberman, known for his uncompromising right-wing positions toward the Palestinians and Israel's Arab population.
India rape victim cremated
NEW DELHI -- The body of a young woman who was raped in New Delhi this month by several men in a moving bus was brought home and cremated Sunday, a day after the police said six men accused of attacking her had been charged with murder.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, president of the governing Congress party, received the body at Indira Gandhi International Airport amid growing public pressure on the government machinery.
Animal cruelty law OK'd
MEXICO CITY -- Mexico City lawmakers late Friday approved prison terms for animal cruelty, previously considered a civil offense sanctioned with fines and detentions.
The capital's legislative assembly unanimously agreed that people who intentionally abuse and cause animals harm will face up to two years in prison and pay up to $500. If the animal is killed, they can face up to four years in prison and a $2,000 fine.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published December 31, 2012 12:00 am