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World Briefs: Crisis arises over forming government

- - Monday, October 29, 2012

VILNIUS — Lithuanian politics were in turmoil Monday after the president moved to block three opposition parties from forming a new government because one of them is accused of vote buying and fraudulent financing.

The unexpected development complicated coalition talks after Sunday's parliamentary election, which saw the center-right government punished by austerity-weary voters in the recession-scarred Baltic nation.

The main opposition Social Democrats won the vote and announced plans to form a left-leaning government with the Labor Party, which finished third, and the fourth-place Order and Justice party.

But President Dalia Grybauskaite told reporters she couldn't accept a government that includes Labor due to fraud allegations against it.

UNITED NATIONS

New "atlas" links climate change, health

GENEVA — Two U.N. agencies have mapped the intersection of health and climate in an age of global warming, showing there are spikes in meningitis when dust storms hit and outbreaks of dengue fever when hard rains come.

The joint project of the World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization said Monday that their "Atlas of Health and Climate" is meant to be a tool for leaders to use to get early warning of disease outbreaks.

Though the data or conclusions aren't necessarily new, the way in which they are presented may sharpen governments' ability to respond to the threats posed by rising temperatures and changing climate.

Since 2005, for example, the atlas shows that the weekly number of cases of meningitis, which is spread by bacteria and germs, has risen when the dry season hits sub-Saharan Africa, where it has killed an estimated 25,000 people over the past 10 years.

GUINEA

Riot police fire tear gas at students

CONAKRY — Residents of the northern town of Labe said riot police fired tear gas at hundreds who gathered to protest the firing of a teacher who allegedly criticized the Guinean government in class.

A student said Monday during the march that Mariama Tata Diallo was an exemplary teacher and shouldn't be fired for being active in Guinea's opposition.

Another student said police fired tear gas at the students and some were hurt but that they would not give up until Ms. Diallo is reinstated.

ISRAEL

Shin Bet disrupts Hamas terrorist cell

JERUSALEM — Israel's domestic intelligence service has arrested dozens of Hamas members in the West Bank who had been setting up a secret cell for the Islamic terrorist group, according to a statement Monday.

The Shin Bet said that 30 Hamas members were arrested near Ramallah, the West Bank's administrative center.

It said they were setting up a Hamas network in the West Bank and were relaying information to the overseas leaders of the group, which is sworn to Israel's destruction. They also were setting up Hamas cells in West Bank schools, the statement said.

CYPRUS

Three held in plot to kill attorney general

NICOSIA — Three men, including a "paranoid" convicted felon, plotted to assassinate the country's attorney general using an anti-tank weapon, a police investigator told a court Monday.

The court granted a police request to keep the three suspects in police custody for eight days until investigators build their case against them.

The suspected ringleader is Andreas Ounoufriou, 61, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the 1996 attempted murder of a judge.

The three men face charges of conspiracy to commit murder and possession of military-grade explosives, a missile launcher and other weapons.

Police investigator Ioannis Georgadjis told a Nicosia District Court that Ounoufriou masterminded the plot to kill Attorney General Petros Clerides from behind bars.

Ounoufriou allegedly recruited the other two men, aged 39 and 52, to help him carry out his plan.

From wire dispatches and staff reports