World Digest: Sept. 17, 2013

September 17, 2013
EGYPT
Muslim Brotherhood spokesman arrested

Egyptian police arrested the main English-language spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday along with other senior members of the group, all charged with inciting violence, state media and a security official said.

Gehad el-Haddad has become one of the group’s most well-known faces, appearing regularly in foreign media to defend the Brotherhood’s policies during Mohamed Morsi’s year as president and following Morsi’s July 3 ouster by the military. His father, Essam el-Haddad, was a senior foreign policy aide to Morsi and has been in detention with him since the coup.

Several thousand Brotherhood members and other Islamist backers of Morsi have been arrested in the past month, with more than 2,000 being held pending prosecution. Among those detained with Haddad on Tuesday were the Morsi-era
governor of Qalyubiya province; a former lawmaker; and a member of the Guidance Bureau, the Brotherhood’s top executive body.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki criticized Haddad’s detention, saying, “We are opposed to all politicized arrests, of course including this one, and detention.”

— Associated Press

NORTH KOREA
U.N.: No cooperation from Kim on rights

The head of a U.N. human rights probe says he can’t get responses from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un regarding harrowing testimony from victims of the reclusive regime, including allegations of being forced to survive on vermin, drown babies and witness the execution of loved ones.

Michael Kirby, who heads the U.N. commission examining North Korea’s human rights record, said Tuesday that his July 16 letter to the leader has not been answered and that the government has offered no evidence to contradict graphic testimony of human rights abuses.

“An ounce of evidence is worth far more than many pounds of insults and baseless attacks,” Kirby told the 47-nation Geneva-based Human Rights Council. “So far, however, the evidence we have heard has largely pointed in one direction — and evidence to the contrary is lacking.”

Later, Kirby said at a news conference that the commission plans to hold more hearings in London, New York and Washington before giving a final report to the council in March.

— Associated Press

Death toll rises after storms rake Mexico: Emergency flights began arriving in Acapulco to evacuate some of the tens of thousands of tourists stranded in the resort city by flooding and landslides that shut down the highway to Mexico City and swamped the international airport. The death toll rose to 38 from the combined punch of Tropical Storm Manuel, which hit Acapulco and hundreds of miles of Mexico’s Pacific coast, and Hurricane Ingrid, which battered the gulf coast over the weekend. Officials said it could take at least another day to open the main highway to Acapulco and get food and aid into the city.

Bahraini opposition figure reportedly detained: Bahrain’s main opposition party said one of its senior figures had been detained over accusations that he incited violence in a speech and has sought to over throw the country’s Sunni monarchy. Officials did not immediately comment on the case of Khalil al-Marzooq, a prominent member of the al-Wefaq political bloc. The strategic island kingdom has faced more than 30 months of unrest between security forces and majority Shiites seeking a greater political voice.

Palestinian militant killed in West Bank: The Israeli army killed a Palestinian militant from the Islamic Jihad group during a raid to arrest him in the West Bank, the military and Palestinian officials said. Israeli troops returned fire after Palestinians threw fire bombs and shot at them as they tried to apprehend the suspect from the violent group in Jenin, the army said. Shots hit the wanted man while he tried to flee the scene and he later died of his wounds in the hospital, it said, adding that it would review the incident.

Car bombings, other attacks kill 33 in Iraq: A new wave of car bombs rocked commercial streets in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, part of a series of attacks across the country that left 33 dead. Meanwhile, Sunni leaders in Basra said unknown gunmen had shot dead 17 Sunnis in the Shiite-dominated southern city over the past two weeks, following threats to retaliate against them for attacks on Shiites in other parts of Iraq.

Man kills 4 in Austrian standoff: A gunman in Austria killed four people, including three police officers, and fired sporadically at police after barricading himself in a farm building, police officials said. After a 12-hour standoff, police stormed the building and were searching for the suspect — whom they named as Alois Huber, a 55-year old businessman — late Tuesday.

— From news services

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