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World Briefs: China to probe capsules for human flesh

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CHINA

BEIJING — China will reinvestigate allegations that Chinese-made drug capsules containing powdered remains of dead babies are being smuggled into South Korea, state media reported Tuesday.

Ministry of Health spokesman Deng Haihua said an investigation launched in August found no proof that such capsules were being manufactured in China, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Some people believe the capsules can cure a variety of diseases.

Mr. Deng said in a statement that China would investigate again following new reports of such pills being smuggled into South Korea, Xinhua reported.

The statement was not posted on the ministry's website and calls to the ministry rang unanswered.

The Korea Customs Service said Monday it had seized capsules made in northeastern China from dead babies.

UNITED KINGDOM

Cameron, deputy pledge continued austerity

LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy relaunched their ailing coalition Tuesday, pledging to maintain a policy of tough spending cuts despite voters rejecting austerity in France and Greece.

Mr. Cameron, speaking at a tractor factory in southwest England, said he would "not let up" on plans to rapidly slash public spending, even after his Conservatives and junior coalition partners the Liberal Democrats took a battering in local elections.

The opposition Labor Party took control of 32 local councils and won more than 800 seats from the ruling parties in last week's local elections.

GERMANY

Police find pipe bombs at May Day demonstration

BERLIN — Berlin police said Tuesday officers found three improvised pipe bombs on the sidelines of a huge leftist protest march in an incident that a prominent lawmaker called an act of terrorism.

The devices were about 16-inches long and were filled with an explosive but were not detonated, police spokesman Stefan Redlich said. An explosion of the aluminum pipes could have caused serious or deadly injuries within a perimeter of about 50 feet, he added.

MYANMAR

Suu Kyi gets first passport in 24 years

YANGON — Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi received her first passport in 24 years on Tuesday ahead of a planned trip to Norway and Britain.

An aide to Ms. Suu Kyi, Htin Kyaw, said the passport was received from the Home Ministry.

Ms. Suu Kyi applied for the passport following recent political reforms that culminated in her election to parliament last month.

BANGLADESH

Cabinet minister criticizes Clinton over bank remarks

DHAKA — A Cabinet minister Tuesday criticized Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for implying that the Bangladeshi government is interfering with the internationally acclaimed microlender Grameen Bank.

Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith said the government has never meddled in the bank and denied claims by its founder, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus, that the administration is trying to take it over.

"Can you say what problems have you seen over the past one year in the bank's operation," he asked. "Everything is going well.

Mr. Muhith said Mrs. Clinton's comments were "unwarranted" and that the government would not change its policy toward Grameen.

"Whatever Hillary says, we are maintaining our previous position," he said.

Mrs. Clinton told a town hall audience in Dhaka on Sunday that Grameen Bank was a "tremendous" model for the developing world and that its structure should not be tinkered with.

Mrs. Clinton is a personal friend of Yunus and met with him for about 45 minutes at the U.S. ambassador's residence before the town hall.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's administration ousted Mr. Yunus, 71, as managing director of Grameen Bank last year in a dispute over retirement age.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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