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World in Brief: 10/4/2014

Pro-Russian demonstrators reinforce barricades in Lugansk

UKRAINE: Pro-Russian demonstrators reinforced barricades and prepared petrol bombs yesterday at a security service building they have seized in Lugansk after the Kiev government gave them a 24-hour deadline to leave or face the use of force.

Government agencies had earlier claimed the demonstrators were holding hostages, but a police spokeswoman said the reports were incorrect.

Protesters in Donetsk remained in control of the main regional authority building, but were also given a government deadline.

SRI LANKA: Rights group Women’s Action Network said yesterday that the government is arresting innocent female relatives of males it suspects are trying to revive the Tamil Tiger rebel group.

The Network reported cases of six women arrested because authorities suspect their male associates or family members have rebel links.

The group said the Criminal Investigation Department had detained some women who are elderly or need medical and psychiatric care and are being denied those facilities.

SYRIA: Iran delivered 30,000 tons of food supplies on Tuesday to help the government deal with shortages due to the civil war.

The massive shipment arrived at a Mediterranean port as part of Iran’s broader support for President Bashar Assad as he prepares to run for a third presidential term.

Last May, Iran extended a £2.2 billion credit line to Syria, enabling Assad’s government to buy oil and help shore up the value of the Syrian pound.

PAKISTAN: At least 21 people were killed yesterday when a bomb ripped through a fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of Islamabad.

The massive blast went off as morning shoppers were buying supplies at the market.

The Pakistani Taliban denied they were behind the attack. The militant group said it was sticking to a previously agreed ceasefire.

SOUTH SUDAN: Aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) lashed out at the the United Nations yesterday, saying that it was refusing to move 21,000 displaced people from a UN base to safer ground.

MSF said the decision by senior UN personnel was a “shocking display of indifference” to refugees who could be exposed to waterborne diseases and potential epidemics.

The aid group said it questions the UN commitment to meeting the needs of the country’s most vulnerable people.

US: The head of the Senate intelligence committee appealed to President Barack Obama on Tuesday to reconsider his administration’s decision to task the CIA with editing a disputed torture report harshly critical of the spy agency’s treatment of terror suspects.

SWAZILAND: The International Transport Workers Federation said yesterday that it is deeply disturbed to hear that less than 48 hours after charges were dropped against two human rights’ defenders, fresh arrest warrants have been issued.

Following a high court order, Swazi TUC lawyer Thulani Maseko and Nation Magazine editor Bheki Makhubu were released earlier this week after spending 20 days in jail.

ITF acting general secretary Steve Cotton said: “We saw the release as a first step in ensuring that the bill of rights, which guarantees freedom of expression, is implemented. Now it looks as if the determination to undermine fundamental human and labour rights continues.

ARGENTINA: Ten people have been jailed for between 10 and 22 years for kidnapping a young woman and forcing her into prostitution.

The search for Marita Veron continues, but after two trials, the woman’s mother Susana Trimarco said she’s satisfied with the new verdict. She said she and others have “achieved a bit of justice for Marita and for all the girls.”

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