World Briefs: Cyprus' president wants change

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NICOSIA, Cyprus -- Cyprus' president said Sunday that he is trying to amend an unpopular euro zone bailout plan that would tax deposits in the country's banks to reduce its effect on small savers.

But in a nationally televised speech, President Nicos Anastasiades also urged lawmakers to approve the tax in a vote Monday, saying it is essential to save the country from bankruptcy. Some 25 lawmakers in the 56-seat Cypriot parliament said they wouldn't vote for the tax amid deep resentment over a move some called disastrous.

Monday is a national holiday in Cyprus.

"I completely share the unpleasant sentiment that this difficult and onerous decision has caused," Mr. Anastasiades said. "That's why I continue to give battle so that the decisions of the eurozone are amended in the next hours to limit the effect on small depositors."

In exchange for $13 billion in rescue money, creditors would impose a one-time tax of 6.75 percent on all bank deposits under $131,000 and 9.9 percent over that amount.

Accused killer arrested

ISTANBUL -- A 46-year-old homeless man suspected in the killing of a New York City woman found dead in Istanbul last month was taken into custody near the Turkish-Syrian border, the Turkish authorities said Sunday.

The woman, Sarai Sierra, 33, had been touring alone in Turkey in January when she disappeared. A search that included hundreds of Turkish police officers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, later, her husband and brother ended on Feb. 2 when her bludgeoned body was discovered by the side of a road near the walls of the Old City.

5 charged with rape

NEW DELHI -- Police said they arrested five men Sunday in connection with the gang rape of a Swiss woman who was attacked in central India while on a cycling vacation with her husband.

All five men admitted to the attack, which occurred Friday night as the woman and her husband camped out in a forest in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh state, said D. K. Arya, a senior police officer.

Mr. Arya said the men, who are from nearby villages, were arrested in Datia. Police were searching for two other men believed to have been involved in the attack, he said.

Resistance officials held

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Security officials arrested three senior officials of the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe's main opposition political party, and a renowned human rights lawyer on Sunday, one day after a largely peaceful referendum on a draft constitution.

The lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, was arrested at the home of Thabani Mpofu, a top adviser to Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's prime minister and the leader of the MDC, whose house was raided by plainclothes police officers on Sunday morning, witnesses said.

U.S. waiting on Russia

The Obama administration's decision to slow work on missile defenses in Eastern Europe has raised hopes that Russia might respond by agreeing to renewed talks on reducing both nations' nuclear arsenals.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday that the Pentagon will add 14 land-based missile interceptors in Alaska in response to threats from North Korea. To pay for that move and develop an advanced warhead, he said that about $1 billion would be shifted from efforts to develop a missile shield in Poland and Romania.

The Russian government has yet to respond to Mr. Hagel's announcement.



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