World Digest: May 15, 2013

russia

Formal protest made over alleged U.S. spy

Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul on Wednesday and lodged a formal protest over the capture of a purported U.S. spy.

McFaul smiled but said nothing as he walked from his official black Cadillac into the Foreign Ministry. He and other U.S. officials have been tight-lipped when asked whether Ryan C. Fogle, the alleged spy, was using his job as third political secretary at the U.S. Embassy as cover for his real work as a CIA officer.

The ambassador was at the ministry for about half an hour. The ministry later issued a statement saying that Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had given him a note of protest and that other topics were also discussed.

The Russian security service, known by its initials FSB, said that it caught Fogle late Monday with unkempt wigs, wads of euros and a compass and that he was trying to recruit a Russian security officer specializing in the North Caucasus.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John F. Kerry appeared side by side at a meeting of the Arctic Council in Sweden and told reporters they had nothing to say on the alleged espionage matter.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell acknowledged that Russia had declared an embassy employee “persona non grata” and demanded that he leave the country. He would not comment on the specifics of the case.

— Kathy Lally and Anne Gearan

IRAQ

At least 33 killed in bombings nationwide

A car bomb exploded near a bus station in Baghdad’s main Shiite district Wednesday, the deadliest in a series of blasts that killed at least 33 people nationwide, officials said.

The bloodshed came amid growing tensions between the Shiite-led government and minority Sunnis after a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in the country’s north.

The day began violently when an explosives-laden car blew up in the ethnically divided northern city of Kirkuk, killing three civilians. An hour later, another parked car bomb exploded in the same area, killing two children and their parents, police said.

Hours later, several bombs struck within 90 minutes as Iraqis were heading home from work in mainly Shiite areas of Baghdad. The deadliest was in the sprawling slum of Sadr City, where a car bombing near a crowded bus station killed at least seven people.

A car bomb also struck firefighters minutes after they arrived to extinguish a burning car in the mainly Shiite Kazimiyah district in northern Baghdad, killing two. At least six other bombings occurred in rapid succession near other bus stops or markets across the capital, killing 15.

In other violence, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck a police patrol, killing two officers in Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad.

— Associated Press

NIGERIA

Army moves against rebels in northeast

Nigeria rumbled to a war footing Wednesday as soldiers and equipment moved into northeastern states as part of an emergency military campaign against Islamist extremists waging a bloody insurgency.

Over the past two days, journalists and witnesses have reported tanks and soldiers on major roads and in cities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. Those states, crossing an arid region of 60,000 square miles, are under a state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday night that allows the military to arrest anyone at will and raid any building suspected of housing extremists.

The exact strength of the incoming military presence was unclear. A statement by the military alluded only to a “massive deployment of men and resources.”

In Washington, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell condemned the “campaign of terror” by the Islamist extremist network Boko Haram and echoed the need to deal with the “worsening cycle of violence” in the north. But he said Nigeria must ensure that its security forces respect human rights and rule of law.

— Associated Press

Scottish cardinal sanctioned for sexual misconduct: The Scottish cardinal who resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh after admitting to sexual misconduct will leave Scotland for several months of prayer and atonement, the Vatican said in a rare sanction against a “prince of the church.” Cardinal Keith O’Brien recused himself from the March conclave that elected Pope Francis after a newspaper reported unnamed priests’ allegations that he acted inappropriately toward them.

Arctic states open council to China, India, S. Korea: Arctic states agreed to let nations that are located nowhere near Earth’s north become observers to their diplomatic council, boosting rising powers China, India and South Korea, which seek to mine the region for energy and other resources. The eight-state council includes the United States.

Survivors sought after mine collapse in Indonesia: Rescuers dug through a caved-in mine tunnel looking for about 25 workers trapped a day after the collapse at a giant gold and copper mine in Indonesia. Four bodies have been found and 10 miners rescued since the cave-in at the Grasberg mine in Papua. The mine is owned by Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold.

Bahrain convicts 6 on Twitter charges: Bahraini courts have sentenced six people to a year in prison on charges of making Twitter posts deemed offensive to the Gulf nation’s king, a lawyer said. The convictions coincide with wider crackdowns across Gulf Arab states against perceived dissent expressed on social media, including imposing tougher media laws.

— From news services

 
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