World/nation briefs

  • Updated: December 22, 2012 - 7:51 PM

NEW MEXICO

Nation's nuke security head is resigning

Tom D'Agostino, who has led the nation's nuclear security agency since 2007, is stepping down next month. His announcement came the same day the agency ordered security stepped-up at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Shuttered peanut butter plant can reopen

A peanut butter plant shuttered by a salmonella outbreak has been given the go ahead to start harvesting New Mexico Valencia peanuts next week under an agreement that ends a monthslong standoff with federal regulators. A consent decree says Sunland Inc. can reopen its plant in Portales if it hires an independent expert to develop a sanitation plan.

israel

Netanyahu justifies settlement building

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in remarks broadcast Saturday justified the planned construction of thousands of apartments in settlements in and near Jerusalem. "What future awaits Israel if we cannot build in Gilo and Ramat Shlomo?" he asked in a televised interview. Gilo and Ramat Shlomo -- beyond the "green line" that separates Israel from the occupied West Bank -- are two of the areas where the Netanyahu government plans to build. Those plans have sparked a storm of international criticism. "So we, the state of the Jews, cannot build in our capital? I don't accept that," said Netanyahu. The international community has not recognized Israel's claim that Jerusalem is its capital.

PAKISTAN

Suicide bomber at political rally kills 9

A suicide bomber in Pakistan killed nine people, including a provincial government official, at a political rally held by a party that has opposed the Taliban. Among the dead at the rally in Peshawar was Bashir Bilour, the second most senior member of the provincial Cabinet, said Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, the politician's brother. More than 20 others were wounded by the blast. "Terrorism has engulfed our whole society," said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa information minister and a member of the Awami National Party that sponsored the rally. Also Saturday, police said a mob in southern Pakistan stormed a police station to seize a mentally unstable Muslim man accused of burning a copy of Islam's holy book.

COSTA RICA

Court strikes down in-vitro ban

A Costa Rican ban on in-vitro fertilization has been struck down by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in a decision that reproductive health groups said could lead to greater access to abortion and some contraception in other Latin American countries. The court said that a long-standing Costa Rican guarantee of protection for every human embryo violated the reproductive freedom of infertile couples. In-vitro fertilization often involves the disposal of embryos not implanted in a patient's womb.

SOUTH AFRICA

Asian toad stowaway gets new home

South Africans are marveling at the endurance of a toad that got trapped in a cargo shipment from China to Cape Town after jumping into a porcelain candlestick. Officials reportedly planned to kill the creature, fearing it would cause harm as an invasive species. But the toad got a last-minute reprieve. Mango Airlines transported the toad on Friday to Johannesburg for delivery to an animal sanctuary. On landing, the toad, dubbed Jack B Nimble, was brought out of his container for a celebrity-style photo call.

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