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World in brief: 22/06/2014

UNITED STATES: Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced this weekend that it would install cooling systems in seven prisons to make conditions more bearable in the summer heat.

It insisted the installation was not in response to numerous lawsuits alleging that high prison temperatures amounted to improperly cruel punishment.

A University of Texas report revealed last month that at least 14 Texan inmates have died from heat exposure since 2007.

 

BRAZIL: Workers Party delegates gave their backing this weekend to President Dilma Rousseff’s bid for re-election on October 5.

Speaking to 800 party conference delegates in Brasilia, Ms Rousseff said she would “increase investments to improve social, educational and health services.”

The former guerilla, who was jailed and tortured during the 1964-85 US-backed dictatorship, has a comfortable poll lead over right-wing challenger Aecio Neves.

 

POLAND: Weekly magazine Wprost announced today that it would release audio files today of Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski disparaging links with Washington.

Wprost published a short transcript yesterday in which Mr Sikorski is heard saying that Poland’s alliance with the US “isn’t worth anything” and is “even harmful because it creates a false sense of security.”

The Foreign Ministry declined to comment until the entire conversation with ex-finance minister Jacek Rostowski had been released.

 

IRAN: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei signified his opposition today to further US intervention in Iraq.

“The main dispute in Iraq is between those who want Iraq to join the US camp and those who seek an independent Iraq,” he said.

“The US aims to bring its own blind followers to power.”

 

SYRIA: Israeli tanks opened fire on Syrian government positions today after a vehicle believed to be a water tanker was hit by a missile in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, killing a 15-year-old.

The vehicle was driving along a fence that Israel built along its occupation zone and the people on board were doing work for Israel’s Defense Ministry at the time.

The incident occurred in the area of Tel Hazeka.

 

SOUTH KOREA: Military authorities reported having surrounded a soldier today who had fled his border outpost after killing five comrades the day before.

They were trying to persuade him to surrender, said a defence official.

The runaway, identified only by his surname Yim, had opened fire with his assault rifle at an outpost near the North Korean border in Gangwon province, killing five troops and wounding seven others.

 

YEMEN: The Defence Ministry blamed suspected al-Qaida militants this weekend for the murder of a senior army officer in front of his home in the capital Sanaa.

Officials said that two men on a motorcycle disappeared after opening fire on Brigadier-General Abdullah al-Mehdar, a member of the committee assigned to restructure the armed forces.

He had been seriously injured last year in a bomb explosion, also in front of his home.

 

THAILAND: Police arrested eight people for protesting against the country’s military junta today.

The arrests took place in Bangkok in or around Siam Paragon — one of the country’s most luxurious shopping malls.

Protests have taken the form of handfuls of anti-coup protesters ostentatiously reading copies of George Orwell’s 1984 book in public.

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