World briefs: Russian lawmaker quits amid scandal over Florida property
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MOSCOW -- A senior lawmaker from Russia's ruling party, who was also the chairman of Parliament's ethics committee, resigned from the legislature Wednesday over revelations that he owned more than $1.3 million worth of luxury real estate in Florida that he did not list on required disclosure forms.
The lawmaker, Vladimir A. Pekhtin, said he did not want the scandal to taint his party colleagues in United Russia, and announced his departure at a morning parliamentary session.
He said he had not broken any law, but that "there are very controversial documents that have been made public on the Internet," and it was necessary to clear up "obvious legal misunderstandings."
Bulgarian premier resigns
SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Prime Minister Boyko Borissov submitted his resignation to Parliament Wednesday after more than a week of anti-government protests sparked street violence in the European Union's poorest country.
Lawmakers in the capital, Sofia, will vote on Borissov's resignation today, Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva said Wednesday. If Parliament accepts the motion, the government will step down and Mr. Borissov, in office since 2009, can propose a successor from his party or President Rosen Plevneliev will appoint an interim government and call an early public vote.
Mr. Borissov, fell victim to anti-austerity movements that have shaken governments from Spain to Greece.
Greeks protest budget cuts
ATHENS, Greece -- Tens of thousands of anti-austerity demonstrators took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday as unions staged a general strike to protest government spending cuts and tax hikes, which some predict will push unemployment to 30 percent.
The 24-hour nationwide walkout disrupted domestic flights, kept ferries and long-distance trains idle and crippled public services. It was the first general strike of the year, renewing confrontation between labor groups and the conservative-led government that has pursued punishing austerity policies to cut debt -- a key condition imposed by international bailout creditors.
India hit by 2-day strike
NEW DELHI -- Factories were attacked, vehicles were burned and a man was crushed to death by a bus in India on Wednesday at the start of a two-day trade union strike to protest price increases, low wages, unemployment and the government's economic reform measures.
Across many parts of India, millions of workers from banks, factories and the transportation industry did not report to their jobs because of the strike, which is likely to cause an economic loss up to $4 billion over two days, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.
S. Korea mulls rights probe
SEOUL --The United Nations' human rights chief declared recently that it was time for a "long overdue" investigation into what she called unparalleled rights abuses in North Korea.
Navi Pillay's January proposal has already drawn support from the United States. But the decision has proved sensitive in still-undecided South Korea, where leaders remain divided over whether to confront the North or try to somehow reduce tensions with it, even after Pyongyang last week detonated an underground nuclear device.
Relations between the two countries appeared to deteriorate further on Tuesday, when a North Korean diplomat threatened the South with "total destruction" during a U.N. disarmament conference in Geneva, drawing quick condemnation from South Korea and other nations.
First Published February 21, 2013 12:00 am