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Protests over Spanish court probe of Catalan secession poll

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 02:40 PM

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Thousands of pro-Catalan independence supporters have protested the start of a Spanish court investigation into the regional government's staging of a symbolic referendum on secession from Spain last year.

New Barcelona mayor Ada Colau headed the protest Tuesday and read a statement backing Catalonia's demand for the right to self-determination. The rally came after a regional official and a former regional deputy president appeared for questioning over their suspected roles in holding the poll.

Artist plans to render border fence "invisible"

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 02:00 PM

NOGALES, Sonora, Mexico (AP) — A California-based artist is leading an effort to paint the border fence that divides the U.S. and Mexico to make it blend in with the landscape.

Ana Teresa Fernández and a group of 30 artists and painters began their work on the border fence in Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona, on Tuesday.

Fernández wants to make a political statement about the border by painting it blue that it appears to be invisible.

UN rights expert airs doubts about Belarus election result

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 01:24 PM

GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. human rights expert is raising doubts about the re-election of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, saying he garnered the highest margin of victory in an election in Europe since World War II.

Special rapporteur Miklos Haraszti on Tuesday says no independent election monitors could verify the reported 84 percent of votes for Lukashenko. He cited allegations of vote-rigging, including ballot-stuffing and "carrousel voting" in which groups of voters are taken to cast ballots at multiple sites.

Mali official: Attack in north kills at least 6 people

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 01:14 PM

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Mali's army spokesman says at least six people have been killed by suspected jihadists who attacked a convoy escorted by the army in north Mali.

Souleymane Maiga said Tuesday that a truck carrying gasoline hit a roadside bomb about 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Gao and gunmen attacked afterward. He said six civilians were killed in the attack and two people were injured, including a soldier.

Maiga said three gas tanks were burned.

Col. Diarran Kone of the defense ministry confirmed the ambush.

Journalist says Canada PM abandoned him during Egypt ordeal

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 12:58 PM

TORONTO (AP) — A former Al-Jazeera journalist who was released from prison in Egypt last month says Canada's prime minister betrayed and abandoned him.

Fahmy, a Canadian, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper delegated his responsibility to people who lacked the clout to get him released.

He spoke at a news conference Tuesday, two days after returning to Canada.

Guatemala ends search for victims of slide that killed 280

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 12:58 PM

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemalan authorities are calling off the search for victims buried under a massive landslide that killed at least 280 people near the Central American nation's capital.

Alejandro Maldonado is head of the National Disaster Reduction Commission. He says the agency's directors agreed unanimously that it was time to end the search and rescue operation, while work to stabilize and recover the disaster zone will continue.

Maldonado said Tuesday that 70 people are listed as missing due to the disaster.

EU applauds calm in Guinea vote, calls for transparency

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 12:07 PM

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — The European Union's observer mission in Guinea commended voters for their enthusiasm and peaceful conduct during presidential elections and called for transparency as the electoral commission finalizes the results of the first round.

Mission head Frank Engel said Tuesday that there were some logistical issues during the Oct. 11 vote, which the EU will continue to evaluate. He called for calm as the results are finalized.

Tunisian al-Qaida-linked group kills shepherd

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 11:03 AM

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — A group linked to Al-Qaida's North Africa branch in Tunisia says it has executed a shepherd it abducted Sunday from a mountainous zone near the Algerian border.

The Oqba Ibnou Nafaa brigade claimed responsibility for the killing in a message on its Twitter account. It accused the shepherd of informing police about the group's movements.

The group also claimed responsibility for the killing of two Tunisian soldiers and wounding three others who had conducted a sweep of the area following the shepherd's abduction.

Russia says thwarted Moscow terror attack planned by 12

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 10:44 AM

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian security officials have released new details about a group suspected of planning a terror attack in Moscow with support from the Islamic State group, saying it was comprised of 12 Russian citizens, including at least one who had been trained in Syria.

Only three suspects have been identified so far and all are from Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia where an Islamic insurgency still simmers after two separatist wars.

They appeared Tuesday in a Moscow court, which ordered them held for two months.

Pakistani police jailed after deathbed rape accusation

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 10:42 AM

MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — A senior Pakistani police officer says three police officers have been arrested after a woman set herself on fire and accused them on her deathbed of gang raping her.

Awais Malik says the 20-year-old married woman, who died of her burns on Tuesday, gave a statement accusing the officers of abducting and raping her six days ago near the central city of Multan. She set herself on fire Monday in public near a police station after reportedly becoming frustrated with her failure to lodge a formal complaint against the officers.

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