Nation/World briefs

  • Updated: April 22, 2013 - 11:06 PM
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White house pedal power: President Obama pedaled a bicycle-powered emergency water-sanitation station for Payton Karr, 16, left, and Kiona Elliott, 18, both of Oakland Park, Fla., to help demonstrate their invention. The president hosted the White House Science Fair on Monday to celebrate the student winners of a range of STEM contests across the country.

Photo: PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS • Associated Press ,

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Washington, D.C.

EPA has harsh review of Keystone pipeline

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a sharply critical assessment of the State Department’s recent environmental impact review of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a move certain to complicate efforts to win approval for the $7 billion project. In a letter to top State Department officials, the EPA lays out detailed objections regarding greenhouse gas emissions related to the project, pipeline safety and alternative routes.

TSA delays plans to allow pocket knives

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has delayed a decision to allow pocket knives on airliners, according to an internal e-mail sent to agency employees. TSA Administrator John Pistole said the agency wants to further consult with the airline industry before making the change. The proposed policy change, announced in March, was designed to align U.S. rules with those in Europe and better reflect intelligence on active terrorist threats, the agency said. Instead, the plan provoked protests from flight attendants, air marshals, airline executives and unions.

Washington State

Sergeant pleads guilty to killing 5 in Iraq

U.S. Army Sgt. John Russell pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the deaths of five fellow service members at a mental health clinic in Iraq in 2009 after the government agreed not to seek the death penalty. Russell, 48, was dispassionate and matter-of-fact as he gave his account of his methodical march with an M16 rifle through the Camp Liberty combat stress center.

Pakistan

Charges against Musharraf are put off

Pakistan’s caretaker government declined to bring treason charges against the detained former military leader, Pervez Musharraf, saying it was beyond its mandate. The decision offers some ­limited breathing space to Musharraf, who has been under house arrest since Friday. It does not dispel the possibility of treason charges, but means that any decision about the case is likely to be taken by the next government after the general election on May 11. Some opponents have called for Musharraf to be hanged for treason.

CHINA

Preachers imprisoned for illegal activities

Chinese authorities have sentenced to prison seven church leaders who were arrested last April and charged with belonging to an illegal cult, according to a U.S. Christian rights group. The preachers, who officiated illegal Pentecostal congregations in China’s central Henan province, were given terms from three years to 7½ years, according to court documents released by ChinaAid, an organization based in Texas.

U.S. and China focus on cybersecurity

The United States and China held their highest-level military talks in nearly two years. A senior Chinese general pledged to work with the U.S. on cybersecurity because the consequences of a major cyberattack “may be as serious as a nuclear bomb.”

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