- - Monday, August 6, 2012

UNITED KINGDOM

LONDON — Britain’s deputy prime minister says the government will abandon plans to overhaul the 700-year-old House of Lords amid resistance from both his coalition colleagues and the opposition Labor Party.

Nick Clegg said Monday that attempts to reform the unelected House of Lords were being scrapped until at least 2015.

Members of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party, the senior member of the coalition government with Mr. Clegg’s smaller Liberal Democrats, had opposed the plans.

They complained that constitutional changes shouldn’t be a priority when Britain is suffering a recession.

Russia

Four killed in Chechnya bombing

MOSCOW — A suicide bombing in Chechnya on Monday killed four people and injured three in the latest violence in the Russian region where the Kremlin fought two wars with separatists over the past 20 years.

Two officers and a soldier died in the explosion when their armored vehicle traveling between the garrison town of Khankala and the capital Grozny made a stop, said Vasily Panchenkov, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry troops.

In a conflicting report, Moscow-based investigators said the fourth body “probably belonged to a suicide bomber.”

Three more soldiers received serious injuries and were admitted to a hospital, Mr. Panchenkov said.

Cuba

Political arrests hit record high, activists say

HAVANA — Cuban authorities arrested more than 400 dissidents for “political reasons” in July, reflecting stepped up pressure on critics of the communist government, an opposition group said Monday.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation said many of the 406 dissidents were held “for several hours to several days.”

Around 50 dissidents were arrested during the July 24 funeral in Havana of acclaimed civil rights leader Oswaldo Paya, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in 2002. He was killed in a car crash in southern Cuba two days earlier.

The commission, which is outlawed by the government, reported 125 such arrests in July 2010 and 251 in July 2011.

RUSSIA

Cossacks to crack down on migrants in Russia

MOSCOW — A thousand Cossacks, who formed a feared military force in czarist times, will help police patrol the southern Russian region hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, charged with preventing an influx of labor migrants from the nearby Caucasus.

The planned deployment of the Cossacks, announced by the governor of the Krasnodar region, has been harshly criticized in Russia, with some warning that it will lead to a rise in ethnic tensions.

The Cossacks will be unarmed but wear uniforms identifying them as adherents of a military force that still celebrates its pre-Soviet role as a defender of Russia’s borders.

Their mission beginning Sept. 1 will be to deal with migrants whose “behavior is not always legal, not always right,” said Konstantin Perenishko, deputy head of the Kuban Cossack Army.

NEW ZEALAND

Volcano spews ashon North Island

WELLINGTON — A volcano has erupted in New Zealand and planes have been warned of significant ash release.

Volcanic ash fell in areas near Mount Tongariro in central North Island late Monday. GNS Science issued a red aviation code, the highest level, for planes in the region.

The Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management advised nearby residents to stay indoors and to protect their eyes, mouth and nose if they were caught in volcanic ash.

Mount Tongariro is one of three volcanoes inside Tongariro National Park. Monday’s eruption was the mountain’s first in decades.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports