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World Briefs: G-8 nations discuss terrorism, drugs

- - Tuesday, January 15, 2013

GROUP OF EIGHT

The United States and its allies from the Group of Eight are meeting in Washington this week to improve international cooperation on counterterrorism and anti-crime measures, including moves to stop the use of fertilizer in roadside bombs and measures to combat the growing encroachment of Latin American drug cartels in West Africa.

The State Department said that the G-8 Roma-Lyon Group, which focuses on anti-crime and counterterrorism initiatives, will meet Tuesday through Thursday.

The U.S. is represented by Brian Nichols, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, and Anne Witkowsky, acting principal deputy coordinator for counterterrorism.

The G-8 nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. The European Union is represented in the group, but it cannot host summits.

EUROPEAN UNION

Airline discriminated against Christian staffer

LONDON — Religious freedom is a right, but not an absolute one, Europe's top court said Tuesday, ruling that British Airways discriminated against a Christian employee by making her remove her crucifix, but backing a U.K. charity that fired a marriage counselor who refused to give sex therapy to gay couples.

In judgments welcomed by civil liberties groups but condemned by religious advocates, the European Court of Human Rights said freedom of religion is “an essential part of the identity of believers and one of the foundations of pluralistic, democratic societies.”

INDIA

Documents: Suspect in rape is a juvenile

NEW DELHI — Documents presented in a hearing Tuesday indicate that a suspect in the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus in December was a juvenile at the time of the attack, a court official present at the hearing said.

Two principals from the suspect's elementary school showed paperwork indicating that the suspect was a juvenile at the time of the attack, which would make him ineligible for the death penalty, the official said.

A judge is expected to rule on the suspect's age in a Jan. 28 hearing, the official said, adding that the suspect did not appear in court Tuesday.

The suspect, who is not being identified by The Associated Press because he says he is 17, would face three years in a reform facility if convicted as a juvenile. A conviction as an adult could lead to his execution.

LIBYA

Libya denies Gadhafi, Al-Senoussi trials soon

THE HAGUE — Libyan authorities say the trials of one of Moammar Gadhafi's sons and the slain dictator's former spy chief are not scheduled to start next month, after all.

Lawyers for Libya's new rulers said Tuesday in a letter to the International Criminal Court that investigations into Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and Abdullah al-Senoussi are close to completion and pretrial proceedings will likely begin in February.

The letter came after the court asked Libya to explain reports that their trial was set for February.

The court has indicted Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and Mr. al-Senoussi on crimes against humanity charges stemming from the elder Gadhafi's brutal crackdown on the 2011 rebellion that toppled his four-decade dictatorship.

But Libya has said it wants to try both men instead of sending them to The Hague to face justice.

From wire dispatches and staff reports