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World Briefs

- - Tuesday, February 21, 2012

PAKISTAN

Pakistan to ask Interpol to arrest Musharraf

ISLAMABAD | Pakistan will ask Interpol to arrest ex-President Pervez Musharraf for his failure to prevent the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the interior minister said Tuesday.

Rehman Malik said the government was seeking Mr. Musharraf's arrest because he allegedly failed to provide adequate security for Bhutto, who was killed in a gun and bomb attack in 2007. He made the comments in a televised address to lawmakers in Sindh province, Bhutto's political stronghold.

Mr. Musharraf, a one-time U.S. ally, went into self-exile in Britain in 2008 after being forced out of the presidency he secured in a 1999 military coup. The current government is being run by Mr. Musharraf's political rivals, and the president is Bhutto's widower and political heir.

A Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Musharraf last year over the allegations.

Mr. Musharraf, an ex-army general who wants to return to Pakistan to contest what will be bitterly contested elections likely this year, said the government is playing politics. He repeatedly has denied any legal responsibility for the killing.

AFGHANISTAN

Official: Extremist books burned at U.S. base

KABUL | Muslim holy books that were burned in a pile of garbage at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan had been removed from a library at a nearby detention center because they contained extremist messages or inscriptions, a Western military official said Tuesday.

The military official with knowledge of the incident said it appeared that the Korans and other Islamic readings were being used to fuel extremism, and that detainees at Parwan Detention Facility were writing on the documents to exchange extremist messages.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the incident.

Parwan Detention Facility adjoins Bagram Air Field, a sprawling U.S. base north of Kabul, where more than 2,000 angry Afghans demonstrated against the incident.

The burning stoked anti-foreign sentiment that already is on the rise after a decade of war in Afghanistan. It also fueled the arguments of Afghans who claim foreign troops are not respectful of their culture or Islamic religion.

LIBYA

Scores of Libyans killed in tribal clashes

JALO | Scores of civilians have been killed in the past 24 hours in tribal warfare in southern Libya, witnesses said on Tuesday.

Moussa Bazama, an ambulance worker taking injured to the coast, said 50 people had been killed by the rockets, mortars and gunfire rocking residential areas in the desert town of Kufra. Hundreds of families are fleeing toward northern cities.

Phone and other communications to the remote region, hundreds of miles from Libya's main population centers on the coast, are sporadic.

For more than a week, the powerful Arab tribe of al-Zwia has clashed with the African Tabu tribe near Kufra, a border area where Libya, Chad and Sudan meet. The region is a hub for the smuggling of African migrants, goods and drugs.

The two groups are old rivals. The Tabu had long complained of discrimination under former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Since Feb. 11, the fight has descended into an all-out confrontation with other smaller Arab tribes joining al-Zwia against the Tabu, residents of the area say.

FRANCE

Far-right candidate suffers legal defeat

PARIS | French far-right leader Marine Le Pen lost a legal battle Tuesday in her bid to run for president, with the Constitutional Court ruling that her backers' names must be made public.

The decision upholds current electoral law and puts added pressure on Ms. Le Pen and her anti-immigrant party two months ahead of presidential elections.

It's an indirect victory for conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is trying to sap Ms. Le Pen's support with nationalist rhetoric in his struggle for a second term.

Current rules say that anyone wishing to run for president must submit signatures of 500 mayors or local officials supporting the candidacy. The signatures are then made public.

Ms. Le Pen enjoys solid support in opinion polls but says she has had a hard time obtaining signatures of the public officials. Her National Front party says mayors worry that their own careers could be hurt if they support the Front's candidates because of its extreme views, and argues the rule is unconstitutional.

From wire dispatches and staff reports