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World Briefs: Politicians agree to elect constitutional panel

- - Thursday, June 7, 2012

CAIRO — Egypt's political parties agreed Thursday on the formation of a commission tasked with drafting a new constitution, capping a row that lasted nearly three months, officials said.

The agreement was struck at a meeting between representatives of the political parties, including Islamists who dominate parliament, and Egypt's military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the sources said.

At the end of the meeting Marshal Tantawi called for a joint meeting of the lower and upper houses of parliament to take place Tuesday to elect the 100 members who will sit on the constitutional panel.

According to delegates who attended the meeting, it was agreed that 39 seats will be allocated to representatives of the political parties within the People's Assembly, or lower house of parliament.

DENMARK

Parliament approves gay weddings in church

COPENHAGEN — Denmark's Parliament has approved a law allowing same-sex couples to get married in formal church weddings instead of the short blessing ceremonies that the state's Lutheran Church currently offers.

Lawmakers voted 85-24 on Thursday to change Denmark's marriage laws.

The law takes effect June 15, and will put Denmark on par with Iceland and Sweden that allow full wedding ceremonies for homosexual couples.

In 1989, Denmark became the first country to allow the registration of gay partnerships. Since 1997, gay couples in Denmark can be wed in a special blessing ceremony at the end of a regular church service.

MEXICO

U.S. puts sanctions on family of most-wanted man

MEXICO CITY — The U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday that it is placing financial sanctions on a wife and son of Mexico's most-wanted man, Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

The department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said that it had designated Maria Alejandrina Salazar Hernandez and Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, 26, under the U.S. Kingpin Act, which bars U.S. citizens from dealing with them and allows authorities to freeze their assets in the U.S.

Guzman escaped prison in 2001 and has evaded authorities ever since, moving from hideout to hideout as he directs the operations of his powerful cartel.

The U.S. and Mexican governments have been intensifying their actions against Guzman's family in recent months.

Authorities in the U.S. and Mexico have said they believe Guzman has children with several partners, including an 18-year-old woman whom he married in an elaborate public ceremony in 2007. The Treasury Department described Mrs. Salazar Hernandez, 53, as a wife of Guzman's, without providing details.

ISRAEL

Military calls cyberspace a strategic battlefield

JERUSALEM — Israel's military says it has identified cyberspace as a strategic battlefield and is prepared to go on the offensive.

The military's website reported this week that the army has defined its "operational methods" in cyberspace.

It said the military has "relentlessly" defended its cyberspace. "Additionally, if necessary, the cyberspace will be used to execute attacks and intelligence operations," it said.

Israel is known as a world leader in electronic warfare. The article said the military is incorporating cyberwarfare activity "in completing objectives at all fronts." It also talked of future "clandestine" activity.

The article was published days after experts identified a computer virus that appeared to target Iran's nuclear program. Outside experts speculated that Israel was involved in the attack.

GREECE

Right-wing leader lunges at female leftists on TV talk show

ATHENS — Greece's election campaign turned ugly Thursday on live TV, as the spokesman of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party, after trading insults of "commie" and "fascist," lunged at two female left-wing politicians on a mainstream morning talk show, throwing water at one and smacking the other three times across the face.

The violent display came a week and a half ahead of crucial elections, as Greeks seek to avoid a catastrophic exit from Europe's common euro currency. A prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Ilias Kasidiaris, whose party alarmed Europe by gaining 21 of Parliament's 300 seats in Greece's inconclusive May 6 elections.

Tempers frayed on the daily morning political show on the private Antenna television station during a political debate, to which representatives of all seven parties that won parliamentary seats on May 6 had been invited.

Mr. Kasidiaris shot an insult of "you old Commie" at prominent Communist Party member Liana Kanelli, after she called him a "fascist."

It all careened into violence when leftist Rena Dourou said there was a "crisis of democracy when people who will take the country back 500 years have got into the Greek parliament." Mr. Kasidiaris bounded out of his seat and hurled a glass of water at her, shouting an insult loosely translated as "you circus act."

From wire dispatches and staff reports