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Nation/world briefs

  • December 26, 2013 - 8:03 PM

South Sudan

Peace talks begin as fighting continues

Fighting persisted in South Sudan as African leaders tried to advance peace talks between the country’s president and political rivals he accuses of attempting a coup. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn had “a constructive dialogue” with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, but there was no political breakthrough.

Turkey

Corruption inquiry targets prime minister

Turkey’s prime minister said he believes he is the ultimate target of a corruption probe of his allies that has shaken the government. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that anyone attempting to enmesh him would be “left empty-handed.” Three Cabinet members resigned this week; their sons were questioned in a scandal that focuses on money transfers to Iran and bribery.

Russia

Russians say Arafat was not poisoned

A Russian probe into the 2004 death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has found that his death wasn’t caused by radiation — a finding that comes after a French probe found traces of the radioactive isotope polonium and a Swiss investigation said the time frame of his illness and death was consistent with that of polonium poisoning. The Federal Medical and Biological Agency said that Arafat died of natural causes and it had no plans to conduct further tests.

Israel

Weapons facilities targeted in airstrikes

The Israeli military said it carried out airstrikes on two targets in the Gaza Strip in response to a pair of rocket attacks. The army said the airstrikes targeted a weapons manufacturing facility and a weapons storage facility and “direct hits were confirmed.” Palestinian officials said there were no injuries. The attacks came hours after Palestinian militants fired two rockets into Israel.

California

LAX shooting suspect pleads not guilty

Paul Anthony Ciancia pleaded not guilty Thursday to 11 federal counts, including murder and attempted murder, in connection with the Nov. 1 shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport that left a Transportation Security Administration officer dead. Ciancia, 23, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bristow during a hearing in Rancho Cucamonga.

Texas

Hate crime charged in ‘knockout game’

Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27, of Katy, Texas, was charged with a federal hate crime in the Nov. 24 assault of a 79-year-old black man. Prosecutors allege it was part of the “knockout game,” in which a person tries to knock a victim out with a single blow and usually records the attack. Such assaults have been reported in St. Louis, New Jersey, New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

Pennsylvania

Church official in sex-abuse case to be released

A Roman Catholic church official who has been jailed for more than a year for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints had his conviction reversed and was ordered released. A three-judge appeals court panel rejected prosecutors’ arguments that the Rev. William Lynn, the first U.S. church official ever charged in the handling of clergy-abuse complaints, was legally responsible for the abused child’s welfare.

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