World briefs: Bangladesh clashes kill 22

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DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Violence erupted across Bangladesh on Monday as Islamist fundamentalists demanding passage of an anti-blasphemy law clashed with security forces, leaving a destructive trail of property damage and at least 22 people dead after a second day of unrest.

The skirmishes began Sunday when thousands of Islamic activists staged a march on Dhaka, the capital, followed by speeches and a mass demonstration.

When protesters refused to leave, police unleashed tear gas and fired rubber bullets to drive them out of the capital.

Pentagon assesses China

WASHINGTON -- China is looking beyond its decades-old territorial dispute with Taiwan as it modernizes its military, according to the U.S. Defense Department's annual report on military developments in the Asian nation.

While preparing for a potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait appears to remain its principal focus, China is seeking to expand its influence to conduct counter-piracy and humanitarian assistance missions as well as regional military operations, the Pentagon found.

China has begun deploying its DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, but it's unclear how many or where.

Alleged neo-Nazi on trial

MUNICH -- The trial of an alleged German neo-Nazi charged in a 10-person killing spree opened Monday amid tight security.

Beate Zschaepe, 38, said to be the sole surviving member of a gang behind the killings, is accused of murder for alleged complicity in the deaths of eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

Ms. Zschaepe is also accused of involvement in at least two bombings and 15 bank robberies allegedly carried out by her accomplices.

Cuba targets tobacco rules

PARIS -- Cuba is seeking to overturn Australia's tough tobacco-labeling rules at the World Trade Organization, the trade body said Monday, the first time the Communist-controlled country has made use of the forum to directly confront another nation over its commercial laws.

Cuba and Australia have 60 days to reach an agreement. If they fail to resolve their differences, the next step would be for Cuba to begin a formal challenge with the establishment of a dispute resolution panel.

Derailment kills 1, hurts 93

BRUSSELS -- One person was killed and at least 93 were injured after three train cars carrying chemicals exploded early Saturday in Belgium. High levels of toxicity continued to be recorded in the area Monday.

The accident killed a 64-year-old man, who was "severely poisoned," officials said. He was found in a nearby house alongside his dead dog.

The cause of the accident, which saw six tanker cars from a 13-car train derail near the northwestern town of Wetteren, remains unclear. The three that exploded held the highly poisonous chemical acrylonitrile.

Russians stage protest

MOSCOW -- Thousands of protesters filled a square in central Moscow Monday to demand political freedoms and an end to corruption, in an attempt to inject new life into Russia's flagging opposition movement.

The protest marked a year since authorities cracked down on the opposition on the eve of Vladimir Putin's presidential inauguration. Since then, many opposition leaders have been prosecuted, and some ordinary protesters arrested then are still in jail. But many of the roughly 20,000 protesters vowed they would not stop agitating until Mr. Putin yielded to their demands.



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