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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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News Roundup

Foot washes ashore in Canada, again; Abbas wants U.S. out as Mideast mediator; 12 sentenced to life for gang-raping kids; more in world news

Canada

Just another foot washing ashore

Another human foot has been found on British Columbia’s coastline, the 13th such grim discovery since 2007. Police said a man was walking on the beach in Jordan River on Vancouver Island when his dog found the foot in a shoe with part of the leg attached this month. The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating, and a spokesman said an early analysis suggests the remains are human and foul play isn’t suspected. Eight of the past discovered feet belong to six people, analysis shows, and police say there’s no evidence they were removed by force. Experts say when a body is submerged in the ocean, the arms, legs, hands, feet and head are usually what detach.

Mideast

Abbas: U.N. should replace U.S. as mediator

Breaking with years of courting the U.S., Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Wednesday for the United Nations to replace Washington as a Mideast mediator and suggested he might not cooperate with the Trump administration’s much-anticipated but seemingly remote effort to hammer out an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. At a summit, Arab and Muslim leaders "rejected and condemned" U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — the trigger for Abbas’ policy pivot — but stopped short of backing his more combative approach.

Myanmar

2 Reuters journalists arrested over papers

Reuters news agency called on Myanmar to immediately release its two journalists who were arrested for possessing "important secret papers related to the security forces" obtained from two policemen who had worked in Rakhine state. Violence there widely blamed on security forces, and condemned by the United Nations as "ethnic cleansing," has forced more than 625,000 minority Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. The Ministry of Information said Wednesday the journalists and policemen will be charged under colonial-era Official Secrets Act, which carries penalties of up to 14 years in prison. Reuters said Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo had been missing since late Tuesday night. "We are outraged by this blatant attack on press freedom," Reuters said. The military, which is charge of security in northern Rakhine, and the civilian government have barred most journalists and international observers from independently traveling to the region. The U.S. Embassy said it was "deeply concerned by the highly irregular arrests." Press advocates and human rights activists expressed concern that the arrests were part of a recent crackdown on press freedom.

United Kingdom

Lawmakers gain veto power on Brexit deal

British lawmakers upended Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans Wednesday by giving Parliament the final say on any exit agreement the government reaches with the European Union. The House of Commons voted 309-305 to insert Parliament in the already strained Brexit process, dealing a blow to May’s already fragile authority. Several lawmakers from the prime minister’s governing Conservative Party sided with the opposition to insist any withdrawal deal with the EU requires an Act of Parliament to take effect — essentially giving lawmakers a veto on Brexit. This vote was the government’s first defeat in Parliament on its Brexit legislation.

Congo

12 get life sentences for gang-raping children

In a groundbreaking trial in a country where sexual violence is rampant and perpetrators often go unpunished, a military court on Wednesday sentenced 12 militia members to life in prison for the gang-rapes of dozens of children as young as 11 months old, and for murder. The court convicted provincial deputy Frederic Batumike, a member of Parliament, for organizing the violence that began in 2013 and continued for years in the village of Kavumu. Young girls were raped in the militia members’ belief that it would make them "impervious to bullets," a United Nations report says. The court awarded $5,000 to each victim of sexual violence and $15,000 to the families of those killed for criticizing the militia’s actions.

Brazil

Free preventative drug to help fight HIV spike

Seeking to stem a sharp rise in HIV cases among young people, Brazil is offering a drug that can prevent infection to those deemed at high risk. Brazil is the first country in Latin America to adopt the pill Truvada — under PrEP, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis — as an integral part of its preventive health care policy. The daily blue pill will be free to eligible Brazilians in 22 cities during an inaugural phase of the program. The Health Ministry is paying U.S. manufacturer Gilead Sciences about 75 cents a dose, a fraction of the price users pay in the U.S., where the pill sells for upward of $1,600 for a month’s supply. — tbt* wires

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