Tanzanian troops arrive in tense east

A contingent of about 100 Tanzanian troops arrived in eastern Congo on Saturday, a first step in assembling the new U.N. intervention brigade, said a U.N. spokesman.

The Tanzanian troops are the first batch to form the special brigade to be deployed in eastern Congo following a U.N. Security Council resolution in March, said peacekeeping mission spokesman Lt. Col. Felix Basse. The unit’s mandate allows it to fight armed groups, rather than merely defend civilians.

Malawi and South Africa have pledged to contribute troops to the U.N. force, the need for which became clear in November, when the U.N. peacekeepers stood by as Congo’s M23 rebels took the provincial capital of Goma.

— Associated Press

Pickax attacker kills one, hurts 4 in Milan

An immigrant illegally living in Italy went on a rampage with a pickax in Milan at dawn Saturday, killing a passerby and wounding four others, two of them critically, in an apparently random attack, police said.

The attack, which police say was carried out by a Ghanaian immigrant with a criminal record, immediately revived a perennial political debate over whether Italy should crack down harder on immigrants or facilitate their path toward citizenship, as recently lobbied for by Italy’s first black cabinet minister, who had emigrated from Congo.

The 21-year-old assailant was arrested shortly after the attacks in a residential area on Milan’s northern outskirts, police said.

— Associated Press

Guatemalans celebrate sentencing of ex-leader: Former autocratic leader Efrain Rios Montt’s conviction of genocide is a historic moment in a country still healing from a three-
decade civil war that killed some 200,000 people, mainly indigenous Mayans, human rights activists said. Relatives of those killed and activists celebrated the 80-year sentence handed down by a tribunal Friday, saying the trial had offered the country’s oppressed indigenous communities their first chance to be heard.

Suicide blast kills 3 in Iraq: A suicide tanker truck packed with explosives blew up outside the home of an army intelligence officer, killing three people and wounding 18 others in al-Shurqat, 155 miles northwest of Baghdad, officials said. The blast heavily damaged the house of Brig. Khalaf al-Jubouri, who was not at home at the time. Jubouri’s son and nephew were among the dead.

Georgian premier nominates presidential candidate: Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili named a pro-Western ally as the ruling party candidate for October’s presidential election, in which incumbent Mikheil Saakashvili is barred from running. Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition won control of parliament last October, defeating the party of Saakashvili, a leader of the 2003 Rose Revolution protest movement, and is favored in polls to take the presidency.

Jihadists claim Mali attacks: The radical jihadist group known as the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, which ruled the northern Malian town of Gao for nearly a year, said it was behind the latest suicide attacks in the region. Three bombers killed themselves Friday in Gossi, wounding two soldiers, and another attacker in Menaka was killed before he could detonate his explosives. “The mujahideen struck, and they’re going to keep striking the enemy,” a spokesman said.

French tests ease fears of coronavirus transmission: Three people who came into contact with France’s only confirmed case of coronavirus have tested negative for the SARS-like disease, with results pending on two others, Health Minister Marisol Touraine said. The infected man remains in serious condition in a hospital in the northern city of Lille.

Gabonese protest ritual killings: Thousands of Gabonese people marched to protest ritual killings, in which people are slain so their body parts can be used in amulets to bring good luck. Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, Gabon’s first lady, led the event with Christian and Muslim religious leaders. The president of the Association for the Fight against Ritual Crimes, Elvis Ebang Ondo, estimates that Gabon has 20 mutilation killings a year.

Iran lifts ban on Reuters news agency: Iran’s semiofficial ISNA news agency said a court has lifted a ban on the Reuters news agency, allowing it to restart its operations in Iran. The ban came after Reuters published a report on martial arts training of Iranian women in April 2012.

— From news services