c.2013 New York Times News Service
HEZBOLLAH LEADER ORDERS FULL FIGHT TO SAVE ASSAD
The leader of the powerful Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on Saturday decisively committed his followers to an all-out battle in Syria to salvage the rule of President Bashar Assad, saying that Hezbollah was fighting abroad to “immunize” Lebanon from an Israeli invasion he said would surely follow if Syrian rebels prevailed. “It is our battle, and we are up to it,” the leader, Hassan Nasrallah, declared, in his most direct embrace yet of a fight in Syria that Hezbollah can no longer hide now that dozens of its fighters have fallen recently in and around the strategic Syrian town of Qusair.
INTERPOL REBUFFS RUSSIA ON HUNT FOR BRITON, A KREMLIN CRITIC
Interpol has rejected a Russian request for a worldwide police hunt for William F. Browder, a British investment banker and a Kremlin nemesis who has made no secret of his whereabouts or of his battle against the government of President Vladimir V. Putin over accusations of human rights abuses. The decision announced Friday by Interpol, the international police organization, to delete all information about Browder from its databases amounted to a rare — and sharp — rebuke of Russia for trying to use international law enforcement agencies in a political dispute.
NORTH KOREA OVERLOOKS TENSIONS AFTER A CHINA VISIT
North Korea put a positive spin Saturday on the visit of its special envoy to China but made no mention of China’s push for the North to resume negotiations aimed at ridding the country of its nuclear weapons program. An account by the official Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, its first report on the visit by Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae, was at odds with portrayals in China’s state-run media, which stressed President Xi Jinping’s strongly worded appeal that North Korea rejoin the international six-party talks that were abandoned in 2008 when North Korea walked out.
ANTI-MUSLIM THREATS RISE IN BRITAIN AFTER SOLDIER’S KILLING
Despite calls by British politicians and religious leaders for calm, there has been a rise in threats and invective against Muslims across the country in the wake of the killing of an off-duty soldier on a London street by two men who shouted Islamic invocations after they hacked at the soldier with cleavers. The police and Muslim community groups have said that anti-Muslim episodes have occurred in many parts of the country, with the most common involving the posting of derogatory — and, the police said, in some cases inflammatory — messages on social media sites, including Twitter and Facebook.
SCHOOL VAN FIRE IN PAKISTAN KILLS 15 CHILDREN AND A TEACHER
Fifteen schoolchildren and a teacher were killed Saturday when their school van caught fire in eastern Punjab province, rescue and government officials said. Seven other children were injured, two of them critically. The accident took place in the Gujrat district of Punjab province just after 7:30 a.m. and was caused by faulty wiring in the van, which belonged to a private school, said Asif Bilal Lodhi, the top civilian official of Gujrat district. The children were ages 5 to 12, and the teacher was believed to be in her early 20s. Lodhi said the authorities were searching for the driver.
INDIANS GROW IMPATIENT WITH PRIME MINISTER SINGH
When India’s technocratic prime minister, Manmohan Singh, came to office in 2004, his obvious shyness was widely applauded as a virtue. In recent months, however, Singh’s diffidence has taken on a darker cast as he refuses to address a growing number of controversies. Troubled by corruption scandals, Singh’s Indian National Congress Party and its coalition partners must face voters no later than next year. “In the Congress Party, people generally think that he is honest,” a senior member of the party said. “But they think, ‘What is the point of this honesty?’ It must be reflected in the quality of administration.”
KERRY, IN AFRICA, PRESSES NIGERIA ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Making his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry urged Nigeria on Saturday to uphold human rights as it steps up its fight against Islamic extremists. “One’s person’s atrocity does not excuse another’s,” Kerry said when asked about reports of serious human rights violations by Nigerian forces. Kerry’s visit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the African Union comes during a trip that is mainly devoted to Middle East diplomacy.
MAOIST ATTACK KILLS AT LEAST 16 IN INDIA
At least 16 people, including a prominent politician, were killed Saturday when Maoist guerrillas ambushed a convoy of political leaders in the state of Chhattisgarh, the authorities said. Among the dead were five police officers. The politician, Mahendra Karma, a senior member of the Chhattisgarh Indian National Congress Party, was killed while the state party president, Nandkumar Patel, as well as his newly married son have gone missing, Mukesh Gupta, a state police official, said in an telephone interview late Saturday night. The victims were in a convoy of vehicles, escorted by the police, that was headed to Jagdalpur from Sukma in central India.