TRIPOLI — Libya’s outgoing leader on Wednesday described the recently held parliamentary elections as a “miracle” and said he does not expect Islamists to rule the country.
Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, however, added the Islamists will play a role in the country’s politics but that Libya will not follow the Tunisian or Egyptian models.
He spoke after the first postelection session of the National Transitional Council, which took over after the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi last year. The council will be dissolved once the 200 newly elected members of parliament are seated.
Partial results trickling in since polls closed Saturday indicate that an alliance founded by a liberal former prime minister is leading the polls.
That could mean that Islamist parties lack the majority of assembly seats, which would be a major setback to their surge following last year’s Arab Spring uprisings.
Police try to shed light on billionaire’s death
LONDON — Investigators were conducting tests Wednesday to shed light on the death of Eva Rausing, one of Britain’s richest women, whose body was found in her west London home.
Her husband, Hans Kristian Rausing, has been arrested in connection to suspected drug crimes, and police want to question him about his wife’s death. He is receiving treatment in a London hospital.
Police have not indicated that Mrs. Rausing’s death was a result of foul play or that a crime was committed.
The U.S.-born Mrs. Rausing, 48, and her husband were philanthropists who both have waged a long battle against drug addiction. They were arrested on drug charges in 2008 after she was caught trying to smuggle crack cocaine and heroin into the U.S. Embassy in London in her handbag.
Mr. Rausing, 49, is an heir to the Tetra Pak fortune his father built as a globally successful manufacturer of laminated cardboard drink containers.
Police found Mrs. Rausing dead at her multimillion-dollar London home Monday. Initial examinations Tuesday failed to establish a cause of her death.
U.N. court to try suspects in absentia
AMSTERDAM — Judges at the U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri said Wednesday they will push ahead with the trials of four suspects in absentia
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon has indicted four members of the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group, which, along with its allies, now holds the majority in Lebanon’s Cabinet.
Hezbollah denies involvement in Hariri’s killing, and has refused to extradite the suspects.
Hariri was killed in a bomb blast that also left 22 others dead.
Judges also rejected defense arguments that trials without the suspects physically present are a violation of human rights and that the accused have not been properly notified of charges against them.
Newspaper drops coverage of drug violence
MEXICO CITY — A newspaper in the northern Mexico border city of Nuevo Laredo said it will no longer cover violent criminal acts after the second of two grenade attacks against its office.
Other northern Mexican newspapers have quietly adopted such policies of not covering drug cartel violence, but the announcement Tuesday by the newspaper El Manana was public.
El Manana said in a statement that what appeared to be a grenade detonated on the outside wall of its offices in the city across the border from Laredo, Texas. The explosion caused no injuries.
Gunmen also threw grenades and opened fire Tuesday on two buildings belonging to the El Norte newspaper in the northern state of Nuevo Leon.
Drug cartels have threatened newspapers and killed reporters in northern Mexico.
6-day-old panda dies of pneumonia
TOKYO — A baby giant panda died at a Tokyo zoo on Wednesday, less than a week after becoming the first to be born at the facility in 24 years.
The birth had created excitement across Japan, and the nation was mourning the baby’s death.
Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo said the male panda, which had not been named yet, died of pneumonia Wednesday morning.
A zookeeper found the baby, which was born last Thursday, lying belly up and not breathing, on his 7-year-old mother’s chest.
He was pronounced dead an hour later after resuscitation efforts failed. He was 6 inches long and weighed only 4.4 ounces.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports