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World/nation briefs

  • December 19, 2012 - 9:18 PM

BRITAIN

Report clears BBC of cover-up

The BBC was severely criticized in an independent report for its handling of child abuse allegations leveled at its late presenter, Jimmy Savile, but was cleared of accusations of a cover-up. The BBC had "proved completely incapable" of dealing with the scandal, which triggered the "worst management crisis" in its 90-year-history, the report compiled by former Sky News executive Nick Pollard said. In 2011, BBC dropped a report from its flagship news program, "Newsnight," into the allegations against Savile, raising suspicions against the network. The report called the decision "seriously flawed" but made "in good faith." However, the BBC said Wednesday that a new editorial team would take over at "Newsnight" in January.

FRANCE

Probe to continue into sex parties

An appeals court rejected a demand from Dominique Strauss-Kahn to dismiss an investigation of him in connection with a ring that recruited prostitutes for sex parties from Paris to Washington. His appeal was an effort to end the last of the legal problems that forced him to resign as managing director of the International Monetary Fund and ruined his ambition to seek the French presidency. The case focuses on nine people in the northern city of Lille under investigation for procurement of prostitutes, and in some cases, fraud. Strauss-Kahn has insisted that he was unaware that prostitutes were involved.

IRAQ

President going to Germany to be treated

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will be flown to Germany for treatment of stroke suffered this week, officials said. The president, 79, was said to be in "stable" condition and the decision was announced after medical specialists from Germany, Britain and Iran assessed his condition. Talabani was to travel Thursday, and Khudayr al-Khuzai, a Shiite who is one of the nation's two vice presidents, will take on Talabani's duties.

ALGERIA

French leader's visit launches new era

French President Francois Hollande announced a new era with Algeria during a state visit to the North African nation that was once a prized colony and is celebrating 50 years of independence. "What I want is a strategic partnership between France and Algeria, treating each other as equals, that lets us enter this new era," Hollande said at a news conference after a meeting with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. French officials had said the two-day trip was aimed at establishing mutually beneficial economic ties with Algeria to replace a relationship strained by a bitter past. That included an announcement of a Renault factory in Algeria building cars for sale across Africa. Hollande said this would allow France and Algeria to not only turn a page but "to write so many others."

MEXICO

23 die in attempted prison break

A riot and foiled prison break in the drug gang-infested state of Durango left at least 23 people dead, including 14 inmates and nine guards, after prisoners attacked their captors with rocks and then firearms. The prison in the central Mexican city of Gomez Palacio made headlines in the summer of 2010 when the warden at the time was jailed after inmates were allowed to borrow guns from guards. Those inmates also were allowed to leave the prison at night and committed killings while they were out, federal authorities alleged at the time. On Wednesday, Jesus Rosso, Durango's public security secretary, said investigators were looking into how the inmates managed to get the weapons they allegedly used to kill a number of prison guards in Tuesday's incident. "Of course those arms shouldn't have existed [in the prison] and, above all, not in the hands of the inmates," Rosso said.

WASHINGTON

Death penalty sought in 16 Afghan killings

The U.S. Army will seek the death penalty against the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a March rampage. The announcement followed a pretrial hearing last month for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39, who faces premeditated murder and other charges in the attack on two villages in southern Afghanistan. No date has been set for his court-martial, which will be held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Weapons in gunfight are linked to U.S.

Two of the weapons involved in a drug cartel gunfight last month in Sinaloa, Mexico, that killed five people, including two soldiers and a young beauty queen, have been traced to the United States -- one lost during the ATF's Operation Fast and Furious, the other originally purchased by a supervisory ATF agent who helped oversee the botched gun-tracking operation. The discovery of the two firearms -- an AK-47 assault rifle and a .57-caliber pistol -- provide new evidence that the nearly 2,000 weapons lost under Fast and Furious, and others as well, continue to flow freely across the U.S.-Mexico border and likely will be turning up at violent crime scenes for years to come.

NEWS SERVICES

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