- - Thursday, November 25, 2010

AFGHANISTAN

Election flap heats up

KABUL | The Afghan attorney general’s office on Thursday announced four arrests in its investigation of fraud during the controversial September parliamentary election — a move some Western officials fear is part of efforts by the political elite to overturn the results of certain races.

The arrests are the latest development in the Sept. 18 ballot that was plagued by irregularities and voter intimidation. Election officials discarded 1.3 million ballots — nearly a quarter of the total — for fraud and disqualified 19 winning candidates for cheating.

BRAZIL

Rio police targeting gang’s slum

RIO DE JANEIRO | Elite police units in borrowed navy tanks rumbled through a heavily fortified slum Thursday in an effort to apprehend drug gang leaders they blame for five days of widespread violence even as scores of armed youth fled the shantytown for a neighboring area.

Authorities say the gangs have erected roadblocks on major highways to rob motorists en masse, torched more than 40 cars and buses, and shot up police outposts — all to protest against a security program that has been pushing them from slums where they’ve held sway for decades.

EUROPEAN UNION

Lawmakers: U.S. must aid Iranian group

BRUSSELS | The European Parliament urged the U.S. and the U.N. on Thursday to provide immediate aid to an Iranian opposition group camped near Baghdad since the 1980s.

In a nonbinding resolution, lawmakers asked the European Union to pressure the U.S. government to take the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran off the State Department’s list of foreign terror groups.

The presence of the Iranian group — also known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq — which fought alongside Saddam Hussein during his 1980s war with Iran, has long irritated Iraq’s Shiite-led government.

GREECE

Group claims mail bombings

ATHENS | A Greek militant group claimed responsibility Thursday for a spate of parcel bombings this month that targeted embassies in Athens and even reached the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The radical anarchist group called Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire posted a 13-page statement on the Internet saying it carried out the attacks using private courier companies.

NIGERIA

Iranian, 3 others charged in arms seizure

ABUJA | A Nigerian court on Thursday charged an Iranian and three Nigerians with arms trafficking in connection to an arms shipment officials seized last month at Nigeria’s busiest port.

The Magistrate Court in Abuja said it had charged Iranian national Azeem Aghajani for attempting to import prohibited arms into Nigeria with the intent of sending them to nearby Gambia.

The court also charged three Nigerians, Ali Usman Abass Jega, Aliu Oroji Wamakko and Mohammed Tukur, in connection with the seizure.

NEW ZEALAND

3 teens rescued in South Pacific

WELLINGTON | Three teens who have been missing in the South Pacific for 50 days — and were already eulogized in a memorial service — have been found alive by a New Zealand fishing boat.

The boys — two 15-year-olds and a 14-year-old — disappeared while attempting to row between two islands in the New Zealand territory of Tokelau in early October and were given up for dead after an extensive search involving New Zealand’s air force.

Their craft had drifted 800 miles to a desolate part of the Pacific northeast of Fiji, when the crew of a tuna boat saw them frantically waving for help on Wednesday afternoon.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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