- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 30, 2012

NEW DELHI — A young woman who died after being gang-raped and beaten on a bus in India’s capital was cremated Sunday amid an outpouring of anger and grief by millions across the country demanding greater protection for women from sexual violence.

The cremation took place during a private ceremony in New Delhi soon after the woman’s body arrived in the capital on a special Air India flight from Singapore, where she died at a hospital Saturday after being sent for medical treatment.

The tragedy has forced India to confront the reality that sexually assaulted women are often blamed for the crime, forcing them to keep quiet and discouraging them from going to authorities for fear of exposing their families to ridicule.

Police often refuse to accept complaints from rape victims, and the rare prosecutions that reach courts can drag on for years.

LIBYA

Two die in bombing of Coptic Christian church

TRIPOLI — Two people died and two others were wounded Sunday in a bombing at an Egyptian Coptic Christian church in Libya’s third largest city, Misrata, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said.

The explosion killed two Egyptian citizens working at the church in preparation for traditional New Year’s Eve mass.

Egypt’s ambassador to Libya visited the church in the coastal city after the attack and urged Libyan security forces to ensure the property is guarded.

A Libyan security official said the deadly attack was caused by a bomb made out a material that typically requires a detonator.

Tens of thousands of Egyptian workers have returned to work in Libya following last year’s civil war, despite security dangers.

VENEZUELA

Vice president has bleak outlook with ‘new complications’ for Chavez

CARACAS — Hugo Chavez has suffered “new complications” after his cancer surgery in Cuba, his vice president said Sunday, describing the Venezuelan leader’s condition as delicate.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro spoke with a solemn expression in a televised address from Havana, saying he had spoken with Mr. Chavez and that the president sent greetings to his homeland. He did not give details about the complications, which he said came amid a respiratory infection.

“President Chavez’s state of health continues to be delicate, with complications that are being attended to, in a process not without risks,” Mr. Maduro said, reading from a prepared statement and seated alongside Chavez family members.

The vice president’s comments suggest an increasingly bleak outlook for the ailing president. The Venezuelan leader has not been seen since undergoing his fourth cancer-related surgery Dec. 11.

HONG KONG

Scuffles break out at pro-government march

Scuffles between pro- and anti-government demonstrators broke out Sunday as thousands marched in support of Hong Kong’s scandal-plagued leader Leung Chun-ying, ahead of a mass pro-democracy rally planned for New Year’s Day.

About 2,500 people took to the cold and windy streets waving Chinese flags and shouting slogans in support of Mr. Leung, who faces possible impeachment proceedings over illegal alterations to his luxury home.

Mr. Leung was chosen to lead the southern Chinese city in March by a pro-Beijing election committee, promising to improve governance and uphold the rule of law in the former British colony of 7 million people.

But in his first six months in power, Mr. Leung has seen his popularity ratings slide and has faced a no-confidence vote in the city’s legislature.

From wire dispatches and staff reports