- - Thursday, February 3, 2011

PAKISTAN

Judge orders American held eight more days

LAHORE | A court Thursday ordered the detention of an American diplomat suspected of killing two Pakistanis extended by at least eight days, in defiance of U.S. demands the man be released immediately.

The United States says the American, identified by Pakistanis as Raymond Allen Davis, has diplomatic immunity. He has told a Pakistani court that he acted in self-defense last week when he shot two armed men who were intent on robbing him at gunpoint, as he drove his car in Lahore. Police say they are pursuing murder charges.

The shootings have stoked anti-American sentiment in Pakistan just as Washington is trying to seek more cooperation with Islamabad in the campaign against Islamic terrorists.

MYANMAR

Junta prime minister named a vice president

YANGON | Myanmar’s new parliament elected Thein Sein, prime minister in the outgoing military junta, as one of three vice presidents Thursday, making him a likely contender for president in the new military-dominated government.

The army has held power in Myanmar since 1962 and says the selection of the new government is the latest step in a transition to democracy, but critics call it a sham designed to cement military rule.

The army is essentially hand-picking the new president from a pool of three vice presidents, though the combined houses of parliament will make the selection official on Friday.

The military’s delegates in parliament and their civilian allies hold an 80 percent majority in the new legislature, so the new leader is almost certain to be a top junta member.

AUSTRALIA

Storm brings terror, ruin but no deaths

TULLY | Local residents and officials were amazed and relieved that no one was reported killed by the monstrous Cyclone Yasi, which roared across northern Queensland Thursday with winds up to 170 mph.

Officials said lives were spared because, after days of dire warnings, people followed instructions to flee to evacuation centers or bunker themselves at home in dozens of cities and towns in Yasi’s path.

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