World Digest: Nov. 3, 2013

November 3, 2013
CANADA
Toronto mayor says he regrets ‘mistakes’

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford apologized Sunday and acknowledged the need to make changes in his life but said he will remain in his job.

Ford spoke on his local weekly radio show at a time when he is facing growing pressure to resign after police said they had obtained a copy of a video that appears to show him puffing on a crack cocaine pipe. Ford did not say what he was apologizing for.

He acknowledged making “mistakes” and said that he can’t change the past. But he vowed “to ride the storm out.” He declined to take a leave of absence.

Ford met Saturday with Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who had said he wanted to express the concerns of city council members. Police on Thursday said the video had been recovered from a computer hard drive during an investigation of an associate of the mayor’s suspected of providing him with drugs.

Allegations that the mayor of Canada’s largest city had been caught on video smoking crack cocaine surfaced in May. Police Chief Bill Blair said at a news conference Thursday that he was “disappointed” in Ford but that the video did not provide grounds to charge him.

— Associated Press

BURMA
Scores of refugees feared lost at sea

A boat carrying at least 70 Muslims from the Rohingya minority capsized and sank Sunday off the western coast of Burma, an aid worker said. Only eight survivors have been found.

The boat was in the Bay of Bengal and headed for Bangladesh when it went down early Sunday, said Abdul Melik, who works for a humanitarian organization in the region.

The incident comes a day after the United Nations said the often deadly annual exodus of people fleeing intercommunal violence in Burma’s Rakhine state appeared to have begun.

As many as 1,500 people have fled in the past week, Dan McNorton, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said Saturday in Geneva.

Melik said the wooden boat, which was carrying Rohingya from Ohn Taw Gyi village, left at about 3 a.m. and broke apart about four hours later. Women and children were among the passengers.

— Associated Press

Congo rebels call for cease-fire, but fighting continues: Congo’s M23 rebels declared a cease-fire Sunday after a string of defeats by government forces, but clashes with the Congolese army continued. The army has in recent weeks driven rebels from towns they had occupied across eastern Congo into steep, forested hills, prompting optimism among mediators seeking a deal to end the conflict, the most serious since a major Congolese war ended a decade ago.

Hindu festival of lights celebrated in India: Fireworks lit up the skies Sunday as millions of Indians celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, marking the triumph of good over evil. People handed out sweets, exchanged greetings with friends and relatives, and adorned their homes with glowing lanterns and oil lamps to mark the country’s most important festival.

Bahrain opposition leader charged: The head of Bahrain’s main opposition group was charged Sunday with insulting authorities through an exhibition that showed alleged abuses against anti-government protesters, a lawyer said, in a move that could sharply raise tensions in the violence-wracked Persian Gulf nation. The charges against Ali Salman, head of the Shiite bloc al-Wefaq, came hours after a court sentenced four suspects to life in prison for alleged ties to Shiite militant factions and acting as spies for Iran.

Australian, Filipino Web sites targeted: Hackers claiming links to international activist group Anonymous defaced dozens of Web sites belonging to Australian businesses and Philippine government agencies Sunday. A group calling itself Anonymous Indonesia posted on Twitter a list of more than 100 Australian sites it had hacked, saying the action was in response to reports of spying by Australia.

— From news services

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