World news briefs: 7/5/12
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MADRID -- Spain's high court opened a criminal fraud investigation Wednesday into the conduct of 33 current and former executives at Bankia, the conglomerate of Spanish savings banks whose spectacular downfall forced Madrid to request a European bailout.
Bankia, the country's fourth-largest bank but its biggest real estate lender, was swamped by unpaid property loans left over from the housing bubble. Too big to fail, Bankia was nationalized by the government in May, using $24 billion in taxpayers' money. But the task proved too expensive, and Madrid was forced to request up to $125 billion in European aid.
LONDON -- A private investigator who has been a central player in Britain's phone-hacking scandal lost a bid at the Supreme Court on Wednesday to remain silent about who commissioned him to intercept voice mails on behalf of New of the World, Rupert Murdoch's defunct tabloid.
The ruling, by five Supreme Court judges, could open the way to further disclosures about the names and stature of the people who supervised the investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, and possibly show the extent to which the scandal reached into News of the World management. Mr. Mulcaire argued he had a right to remain silent about who commissioned him to avoid self-incrimination.
KABUL, Afghanistan -- A man in an Afghan army uniform opened fire outside a NATO base in eastern Afghanistan, wounding five American soldiers, an Afghan police official said Wednesday.
The number of insider attacks against foreign forces in Afghanistan has increased this year, undermining the trust between allies and efforts to prepare Afghan troops to take over their own security as international combat troops prepare to withdraw.
ROME -- Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is trying to parlay his success last week in winning concessions from European partners to shore up the country's debt and bolster efforts to revive the domestic economy.
Mr. Monti's government plans to approve as soon as today more than 4 billion euros ($5 billion) of spending cuts this year to trim the size of the public administration and stave off further tax increases. The initiative marks a renewed effort by Mr. Monti to boost growth and competitiveness before his term ends in April.
ISTANBUL -- Turkey's military said the corpses of two pilots whose F-4 jet was shot down by Syrian air defenses June 22 were discovered at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.
Work has started to recover the bodies, the military in Ankara said in a statement on its website Wednesday.
BRUSSELS -- European Union lawmakers rejected a global anti-piracy treaty, stalling approval for the accord aimed at preventing counterfeiting worldwide.
The European Parliament voted, 478-39, with 165 abstentions Wednesday to reject the treaty, the parliament's press service said.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, known as ACTA, is intended to set global rules for cracking down on the pirating of copyrighted materials, including illegal file sharing on the Internet.
Protesters in European countries including Germany have complained that the treaty may harm freedom of expression and information sharing online.
First Published July 5, 2012 12:00 am