World Digest: Dec. 7, 2013

December 7, 2013
SOUTH AFRICA
Obamas to attend service for Mandela

The White House said Saturday that President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will attend a Tuesday memorial service at a stadium in Johannesburg honoring Nelson Mandela.

The Obamas will be accompanied on Air Force One by former president George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush. Former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, and former president Jimmy Carter, will also attend memorials for Mandela in South Africa. A state funeral for Mandela will take place Dec. 15.

— Associated Press

MEXICO
Six held over theft
of radioactive load

Six people tested for possible radiation exposure have been released from the hospital but remain in custody as suspects in the theft of a truck carrying highly radioactive cobalt-60, officials said Friday.

Of the detained men, ages 16 to 38, only the 16-year-old showed signs of radiation exposure, and he was in good health, an official said. The six were detained Thursday as part of the investigation and taken to a hospital in the central city of Pachuca for testing.

After being cleared by medical officials Friday, the men were turned over to federal authorities in connection with the theft of the cargo truck Monday at gunpoint outside Mexico City. The cobalt-60 it was carrying was from obsolete radiation therapy equipment. Officials have not said what roles the six allegedly played in the theft.

— Associated Press

CENTRAL AFRICANREPUBLIC
France, A.U. nations to send more troops

France and the African Union on Saturday announced plans to send several thousand more troops to the embattled Central African Republic, as thousands of Christians fearing reprisal attacks sought refuge from Muslim former rebels who control the country, where days of violence have left at least 400 people dead.

Concluding a long-planned conference in Paris on African security, President François Hollande said France is raising its deployment to 1,600, 400 more than first announced. Later, after a meeting of regional nations about the Central African Republic, his office said A.U. nations would increase their total deployment to 6,000, up from about 2,500 now and nearly double a projected 3,600 by year’s end.

— Associated Press

8 killed in Colombia in attack attributed to FARC: At least eight people were killed and 20 wounded in a bombing in a village in southern Colombia that the military blamed on left-wing guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, who have been engaged in peace talks with the government. The government has vowed to pursue the rebels even as talks advance, while the FARC has continued to attack government troops.

Israel says Golan patrol was target of bomb: The Israeli army said a military vehicle was damaged by a bomb set off on the Syrian side of the frontier of the occupied Golan Heights. The attack Friday was thought to be the first targeted bombing of Israeli forces since the start of Syria’s civil war, although the army could not confirm that was the case.

Liquor stores among targets in Iraq violence: A shooting aimed at a row of liquor stores in Baghdad and other attacks killed at least 15 people across Iraq, officials said. In the worst reported incident, gunmen in two speeding cars opened fire on the stores in the northern neighborhood of Waziriyah, killing nine people. Islamist extremists have often targeted liquor stores, but alcohol remains available in most cities.

Egyptian court cuts sentences for Islamist women: Egyptian authorities released two dozen Islamist women and girls convicted in connection with an Oct. 31 street protest after an appeals court reduced their punishments, including prison terms of 11 years, to suspended sentences. The initial verdict, handed down late last month, caused an international and domestic outcry.

Israeli solders accused in death of West Bank teen: A 15-year-old Palestinian boy died of a gunshot wound in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, hospital officials said, and his father and others blamed Israeli troops guarding the Beit El settlement. An Israeli military spokeswoman said an investigation has begun.

— From news services

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