World briefs: India approves anti-rape law

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NEW DELHI -- The Indian Parliament's lower house passed a landmark law Tuesday that sets tougher penalties for rapists and police who refuse to file a woman's complaint of rape, as well as criminalizing sexual offenses such as stalking, voyeurism and acid attacks.

The amendments to the existing law incorporate some of the sweeping changes that were demanded after the fatal gang rape of a young paramedical student in New Delhi in December, an incident that sparked a nationwide outcry against the lack of safety for women.

Despite the unprecedented protests that galvanized tens of thousands of Indians, the number of incidents of sexual assault has not diminished.

Arrest in Pearl case

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistani officials have arrested a senior militant accused of involvement in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl.

The militant, Qari Abdul Hayee, a leader of the Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was arrested by the paramilitary Rangers force Sunday in Karachi, the city where Pearl was held hostage and killed.

Ruling on lawyer's death

MOSCOW -- Russian authorities ruled on Tuesday that no crime was committed in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer whose treatment prompted the U.S. Congress to impose sanctions on corrupt officials here.

The finding by the country's top investigative body contradicted a Russian presidential commission, which concluded that Magnitsky was abused and denied medical treatment before his death, and a private investigation by his Western employer, which found evidence he had been tortured.

Magnitsky, who died in 2009 at age 37, will go on trial posthumously Friday, accused of a $230 million tax fraud. He had been jailed after he uncovered theft and blew the whistle on corrupt police and tax officers, who arrested him in response.

Treasury chief visits China

BEIJING -- Jacob J. Lew, the U.S. Treasury secretary, met with President Xi Jinping of China on Tuesday in the first high-level encounter between U.S. and Chinese officials since Mr. Xi assumed the presidency.

Mr. Lew, 57, a master of the intricacies of the U.S. budget who has less foreign experience than his predecessors, raised the topic of cybersecurity, a significant issue in the relationship between Washington and Beijing, U.S. officials said. He also talked about North Korea's nuclear program, a topic not normally on a Treasury secretary's agenda, they said.

Voters back new charter

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabweans approved a new constitution to set up fresh elections later this year that will pit President Robert Mugabe against his longtime rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The constitution was passed with 3.08 million votes in favor and 179,489 against in the March 16 referendum, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said Tuesday in the capital, Harare. There were 56,627 spoiled ballots.

Also in the world ...

U.S. authorities are examining Microsoft's involvement with companies and individuals that allegedly paid bribes to overseas government officials in China, Italy and Romania in exchange for business. ... President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive today in Israel for his first official visit to the Jewish state as president. He is also expected to visit Palenstinian cities in the West Bank.



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