World/nation briefs

  • Updated: December 20, 2012 - 7:44 PM

PAKISTAN

Polio workers receive police protection

Under police guard, thousands of health workers pressed on with a polio-immunization program after nine were killed in the country by suspected militants who claim that the health workers are U.S. spies and that the vaccine is designed to make Muslim children sterile. Insurgent opposition to the campaign grew last year after it was revealed that a Pakistani doctor ran a fake vaccination program to help the CIA track down and kill Osama bin Laden, who was hiding in the town of Abbottabad in the country's northwest.

SWEDEN

Probe into Nazi past of queen's dad concluded

Queen Silvia said that an investigation into her father's Nazi past had ended and that she had "no reason" to reassess her view of him. The German-born queen, 68, commissioned the probe together with the Sommerlath family after a 2010 TV documentary alleged that her father, Walter Sommarlath, took over a firm owned by a Jewish businessman as part of the Nazis' Aryanization program. A heavily documented report said Sommerlath, who died in 1990, had conducted a "swap" that allowed Jewish businessman Efim Wechsler to leave Germany.

VATICAN

Pope Paul VI takes step toward sainthood

The Roman Catholic Church took the first step toward granting sainthood to Pope Paul VI, who ruled from 1963 until his death in 1978. The current pope, Benedict, recognized his predecessor's "heroic virtues" and gave him the title "venerable." The second step is beatification, which requires the attribution of at least one miracle testifying to the person's intercession with God. Canonization, or sainthood, comes next.

IRAQ

Finance chief says employees kidnapped

Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi accused a "militia force" of kidnapping members of his staff and said he holds the prime minister personally responsible for their safety. Al-Issawi, a Sunni Muslim, called on the parliament to hold a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite-led government. The move is certain to inflame Iraq's simmering political tensions.

UNITED NATIONS

Military action OK'd to oust Mali rebels

The Security Council approved an African-led military operation to oust Al-Qaida-linked extremists from northern Mali, but not before the training of the country's security forces and progress on political reconciliation and elections. The resolution, passed unanimously, stressed that there must be a two-track plan, political and military, to wrest control of the turbulent north --an area the size of Texas -- and successfully reunite the west African nation.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Labor Dept. urges talks over Bahrain

The government of Bahrain has fallen short of commitments to recognize labor rights and prevent employment discrimination under a free-trade agreement with the United States, the Labor Department said. But the department declined to suspend the pact despite a request from the AFL-CIO. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis urged more talks with Bahrain to resolve complaints about the Persian Gulf nation's crackdown on unions. Washington has been urging Bahrain's Sunni monarchy to talk with protesters and has publicly condemned the violence and mass arrests following a general strike in March 2011 that included journalists, activists and trade union leaders. But U.S. officials have stopped short of more direct action.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Raytheon 900 missiles behind in deliveries

Raytheon Co. has fallen almost 900 missiles behind in deliveries of the military's most advanced air-to-air weapon to the U.S. Air Force, Navy and allies because of a subcontractor's difficulties manufacturing motors. Raytheon was to have delivered about 1,800 missiles as of last month, the Air Force said.

NEW JERSEY

Booker decides not to run for governor

Mayor Cory Booker of Newark will not challenge Gov. Chris Christie for re-election, deciding to focus on making a bid for a Senate seat in two years. Booker was considered by Democrats to be their best hope to unseat Christie, a Republican. Following Hurricane Sandy, however, Christie's popularity has surged and Booker, who is in his second term as Newark mayor, most likely would have faced an uphill battle.

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