World Briefs (11/10/09)

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First female police officers

BAGHDAD -- Fifty women joined 1,050 male classmates as graduates of Iraq's police officer training academy yesterday.

U.S. military officers, who provided advice on the training, called it a step forward for the country and its women.

Women have long worked in the lower police ranks in Iraq, directing traffic or searching other women at checkpoints, but until now they have been ineligible for the elite officers' corps. The government changed the rules this year.

Also yesterday, Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission submitted a proposal to Iraq's presidency council to hold the elections on Jan. 21, five days after the previously scheduled date, commission chief Faraj al-Haidari said. It must now be approved by the presidential council.

9 executed for rioting

BEIJING -- China has executed nine men, including eight from the Muslim Uighur minority, for crimes committed during July riots that killed 200 people in far western Xinjiang region. The men are the first to be put to death for the country's worst ethnic violence in decades.

The nine had been convicted of murder and other crimes committed during the unrest, which began July 5 when Uighurs in the regional capital of Urumqi attacked Han people, who make up China's dominant ethnicity, only to face retaliatory attacks two days later.

Many Uighurs, who are a Turkic Muslim ethnic group linguistically and culturally distinct from the Han, resent Beijing's heavy-handed rule in Xinjiang, their traditional homeland.

Allied forces target north

KABUL -- Afghan and international troops killed more than 130 insurgents in six days of fighting in a once-stable area of northern Afghanistan, NATO said yesterday. It was some of the heaviest fighting in the north this year.

The operation, which took place last week, was in the Chahar Dara district of Kunduz province against Taliban fighters who had been threatening NATO supply lines from Russia.

Pirates extend reach

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Somali pirates attacked an oil tanker and fired automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades yesterday farther out at sea off East Africa than any previous assault, suggesting that pirate capabilities are growing.

Pirates in two skiffs fired at the Hong Kong-flagged BW Lion about 1,000 miles east of the Somali coast, the European Union Naval Force said. The tanker's captain took evasive maneuvers, avoiding the attack, the force said. No casualties were reported.

AIDS virus, women

GENEVA -- In its first study of women's health around the globe, the World Health Organization said yesterday that the AIDS virus is the leading cause of death and disease among women between the ages of 15 and 44.

Unsafe sex is the leading risk factor in developing countries for these women of childbearing age the WHO said.

Also in the world . . .

The Brazilian university that expelled a woman after she wore a short dress to class backed down yesterday and reinstated her after a flood of negative reaction throughout a nation where skimpy attire is common. ... Soldiers and townspeople of Verapaz, El Salvador, yesterday searched for dozens of people missing in a mudslide that swept down on a town, part of a wave of floods and landslides that killed at least 134 people.


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