World briefs (3/28/13)

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Court annuls Morsi decree

CAIRO -- An Egyptian appeals court Wednesday annulled a presidential decree appointing the top prosecutor in a new challenge by the judiciary to Islamist President Mohammed Morsi that throws the country's legal system into confusion.

The unprecedented verdict against the decree, which Mr. Morsi issued in November, brought to the surface how Egypt's stormy post-revolution transition has profoundly snarled the lines of authority and law, leaving unclear the boundaries between powers of the president and the judiciary and who has the ultimate say in interpreting a deeply disputed constitution.

It also opens a new phase in the political fight between Mr. Morsi and his Islamist backers on one side and his mainly liberal and secular opponents on the other.

Kerry promotes trade deal

PARIS -- A trade deal linking the United States and Europe could lift Europe out of the economic doldrums and promote fairer competition with emerging economic powers that don't play by global trade, environmental and labor rules, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday.

"This trade agreement, if we move rapidly, can have a profound impact on the rest of the world," Mr. Kerry told French business leaders.

France wants to slow down consideration of the proposed trans-Atlantic free-trade zone encompassing about 40 percent of the world's trade. Germany and Britain are in favor of the plan and want to move fast.

Mass grave 25 years old

MATALE, Sri Lanka -- A judge said Wednesday that more than 150 human skulls and bones recovered from a mass grave were buried there about 25 years ago, strengthening suspicion they belonged to suspected Marxist rebels killed at the time.

Magistrate Chathurika de Silva told a court that tests show the skeletal remains found inside the premises of a government hospital dated to between 1987 and 1990. During that period, thousands of people suspected of having ties to the rebels disappeared after being arrested by security forces.

Workers found the remains during construction on part of the hospital land in December. The skeletons had been buried in neat rows, five or six stacked on top of one another.

Resignation ends rivalry

LONDON -- David Miliband, the former British foreign secretary who lost a party leadership contest to his younger brother, said Wednesday he was quitting front-line politics, drawing to an end a fraught sibling rivalry that had divided both a family and a political party.

"British politics will be a poorer place without David," Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, said after his brother said he would take a job in New York running the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian and aid organization founded to help Jews fleeing the Nazis.

Once seen as Labour's leader in waiting, David Miliband, 47, will resign his parliamentary seat.

War criminals sentenced

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Two former high-level Bosnian Serbs were sentenced to 22 years in jail by a United Nations war crimes court Wednesday over atrocities committed during the Bosnian war in the 1990s.

The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted Mico Stanisic, a former interior minister of the Bosnian Serb region of Srpska, and Stojan Zupljanin, a former senior security chief, on crimes against humanity and war crimes charges.

Stanisic and Zupljanin were confidants of the former Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic, who is also on trial at the ICTY on genocide charges.


-- Compiled from news services


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