World Briefs

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Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi fled to the Kurdish north in December, just as the last American troops were leaving the country and charges against him were being drawn up.

The government accuses him of running a hit squad that assassinated government and security officials years ago. Mr. al-Hashemi denies the allegations. Fellow Sunnis, who made up the dominant political class under the regime of Saddam Hussein, see the charges as part of an effort to sideline them.


Regional council fires security chief, Saleh ally

SANAA — A top official in Yemen’s Taiz region said Sunday the regional council has fired the region’s security chief, another blow to embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Council head Hamoud al-Sufi said the body voted to remove Brig. Gen. Abdullah Qairan after reviewing the province’s security situation. Gen. Qairan commanded security during some the bloodiest crackdowns on anti-regime demonstrations.

Taiz has been a hotbed of protests during the 11-month popular uprising seeking to oust Mr. Saleh. Security forces have killed dozens of protesters there.

Gen. Qairan is one of a number of pro-Saleh leaders to lose their posts in recent weeks under mounting protests targeting those seen as corrupt.

Mr. Saleh signed a power-transfer agreement, but remains in office.


President warns of attacks during Catholic ceremony

MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III warned on Sunday of a possible terrorist attack, including bombings, during an annual Roman Catholic procession in Manila that draws millions of devotees.

Standing with top military, police and defense officials, Mr. Aquino told a hastily called news conference that several terrorists planning to disrupt Monday’s religious procession have been sighted in the capital. Police are attempting to arrest the suspects and disrupt any planned attack, he said.

“The sad reality of the world today is that terrorists want to disrupt the ability of people to live their lives in the ways they want to, including the freedom to worship,” Mr. Aquino said.


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