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World in Brief: 14/04/2014

German government blocks deal to sell 800 tanks to Saudi Arabia

KUWAIT: An opposition group led by a former MP convicted of insulting the ruling emir said yesterday that it plans to launch a series of street protests to press for reform.

Musallam al-Barrak said his reform agenda included allowing people to run for the position of prime minister. Currently the emir appoints prime ministers from the ruling family.

Mr Barrak is known for suggesting the emir was trying to turn the country into an “autocracy.”

ALGERIA: Two men from the Mozabite Berber ethnic group were killed in the desert city of Ghardaia, security officials said on Saturday.

There have been clashes between the city’s Arab and Berber communities since late last year, leaving nine dead and hundreds injured.

One man was killed with a hunting rifle during clashes on Friday night and a second man succumbed to his wounds on Saturday.

IVORY COAST: Locally celebrated model Awa Fadiga died in hospital on Friday because no-one was there to pay her medical fees, her family has said.

She was attacked on Wednesday night and thrown out of a cab beneath a bridge.

More than 8,000 Ivorians signed an online petition criticising the hospital’s behaviour and 21,000 have joined a Facebook group denouncing “the priority of money over basic healthcare.”

IRAQ: A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle at a checkpoint in Kirkuk yesterday, killing seven police and wounding 11 others.

And in a village in the Sulaiman Bek area, also north of Baghdad, gunmen attacked a police officer’s house, killing his father and brother and wounding two more people.

The gunmen also shot dead a Sahwa anti-al-Qaida militiaman nearby.

ISRAEL: An Islamic militant serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison has declared an open-ended hunger strike in protest at his solitary confinement.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said that about 200 other Palestinian prisoners would fast in solidarity with former Hamas military leader Ibrahim Hamed.

It said that Fatah commander Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat, secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, could join the rolling hunger strike.

GERMANY: The government will not approve a reported deal to sell up to 800 tanks to Saudi Arabia, a German newspaper said yesterday.

The sale of the Leopard-2 tanks had been billed as one of the biggest deals for the German armaments industry, Bild reported.

But Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a Social Democrat member of the left-right “grand coalition,” has “positioned himself against the tanks’ delivery to the autocratic royal house,” it said.

UNITED STATES: Nevada released 400 cattle at the weekend owned by a rancher who refused to recognise the state’s authority.

State workers had rounded them up on public land.

But they were forced to release the herd when they were confronted by hundreds of protesters armed with handguns and rifles at corrals in southern Nevada.

The Bureau of Land Management said the cattle were released “due to escalating tensions.”

AFGHANISTAN: An election official said yesterday that nearly 1,900 complaints of fraud in this month’s presidential election were being investigated.

Independent Elections Commission complaints spokesman Mohammed Nadir Mohseni said yesterday that each allegation would be scrutinised so that there would be no question of the outcome of the April 5 vote.

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