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World in brief: March 14

INDIA: At least nine paramilitary soldiers were killed yesterday in eastern India by a landmine placed by Maoist rebels known as Naxalites.

Police officer DM Awasthi said the soldiers were travelling between camps in the Sukma area of Chhattisgarh state when their vehicle drove over the mine. Two other soldiers were wounded in the blast.

The Naxalites control swathes of central and eastern India, claiming to be fighting for jobs, land and natural resources wealth for poor and indigenous communities.

IRAQ: Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced yesterday that airports in the autonomous Kurdish region will be reopened to international flights after federal authority was restored there.

They were initially closed after a referendum vote in the region that overwhelmingly backed independence from Baghdad.

Mr Abadi described the decision as “a gift to the people of Kurdistan,” adding that Baghdad would also release salaries for government employees there before the Kurdish new year celebration later this month.

 

SPAIN: The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg found in favour yesterday of two Spaniards who set fire in public to a photo of Spain’s king and queen, ruling that this was a matter of freedom of expression.

Enric Taulats and Jaume Capellera, who burnt the photo during the king’s visit to Girona, were sentenced to 15 months in prison for insulting the monarchy, though that was later reduced to a fine.

The court deemed their protest political not personal and involved a “permissible degree of provocation” to convey their message.

GRENADA: Grenadians went to the polls in a general election yesterday on the 39th anniversary of the 1979 revolution led by the New Jewel Movement.

Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, whose New National Party won all 15 seats in the last election in 2013, announced the snap poll two months ago.

His government’s main challenge is expected to be from Nazim Burke’s National Democratic Congress, although a number of smaller parties and independents also entered the fray.

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