World/nation briefs

  • Updated: February 6, 2013 - 10:37 PM

GEORGIA

Four killed in fiery pileup

More than two dozen vehicles collided in a fiery pileup on a foggy interstate, killing at least four people and injuring nine. Charred and twisted wreckage covered nearly a quarter-mile of Interstate 16 near Montrose. The cause wasn't known.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Full ethics probe sought

Investigators recommended a full House Ethics Committee probe of Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., for allegedly soliciting illegal contributions for a political action committee to help a colleague in a primary battle.

Senator delays Hagel vote

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, D-Mich., delayed a vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary after 25 Republican senators demanded more information from the former Nebraska senator. The senators want Hagel to disclose who funded his private speeches, as well as any foreign sponsors of organizations to which he has profitable ties.

New sanctions against Iran

The United States blacklisted Iran's state broadcasting authority, Internet-policing agencies and a major electronics producer, moves that widened its effort to pressure the Iranian government over not only its disputed nuclear program but also over the stifling of domestic dissent and access to information. The Treasury Department also announced the formal start of tightened restrictions meant to severely inhibit Iran's already weakened ability to repatriate oil earnings.

SYRIA

Fight resumes in Damascus

Insurgents attacked military checkpoints in central Damascus, anti-government activists reported. The fighting shattered a lull there as prospects for any talks between the antagonists dimmed. The outbreak came a week after the opposition coalition's top political leader first proposed a dialogue with President Bashar Assad.

EUROPE

People smugglers targeted

Immigration authorities in Britain, Belgium and France staged coordinated raids at scores of addresses to round up people suspected of being members of gangs that smuggle people across or under the English Channel in long-haul trucks. The raids by 150 law enforcement officials in Britain represented "one of the biggest operations of its kind ever undertaken," said a senior investigator with the United Kingdom Border Agency. Desperate migrants from troubled lands, including Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, pay up to $10,000 each to be spirited into Britain.

GERMANY

Merkel backs minister

Chancellor Angela Merkel rallied behind her education and research minister, who was stripped of her doctorate amid allegations of plagiarism, the second Cabinet minister in two years accused of plagiarizing a PhD thesis. Annette Schavan said she was challenging the decision by Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf that concluded she had "systematically" copied parts of her 1980 philosophy thesis. Schavan, 57, who is on an official trip to South Africa, said she wouldn't resign. The chancellor "has full confidence in her," Merkel's chief spokesman said.

MALI

U.N. peacekeepers sought

France formally asked the U.N. Security Council to consider deploying international peacekeepers in Mali, once the situation allows French troops to leave. With 2,000 soldiers from the U.N.-authorized, African-led International Support Mission to Mali already on the ground, the Security Council has yet to make a final decision on the deployment of peacekeeping troops.

MEXICO

Tourists' attackers pursued

Authorities have information they hope will lead them to the gang of armed, masked men who raped six Spanish tourists in the resort of Acapulco, the attorney general in the state of Guerrero said. The hours-long attack at a beach home on the outskirts of Acapulco before dawn Monday was the latest chapter of violence that has tarnished the once-glamorous Pacific Coast resort. "Fortunately, we have strong evidence to lead us to those responsible for this reprehensible act," Attorney General Martha Garzon Guzman said.

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