Militias press protest at Justice Ministry

Men in pickup trucks mounted with antiaircraft guns and rocket launchers protested on the road outside Libya’s Justice Ministry on Tuesday to push demands that aides of ousted ruler Moammar Gaddafi be barred from senior government posts.

Tensions between the government and armed militias have intensified since authorities began a campaign to dislodge the gunmen from strongholds in the capital, Tripoli, to tackle lawlessness threatening Libya’s democratic transition.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s government and its armed forces are so weak that swaths of the oil-producing desert country are beyond their control. The militias, which played a pivotal role in the anti-Gaddafi revolt, have never left the capital.

Gunmen ringed the Foreign Ministry on Sunday and have targeted other state buildings, aiming to paralyze the government until the legislation they seek is adopted. Such a law could blacklist several long-serving ministers, the General National Congress chairman and Zeidan.

— Reuters

E.U. court criticizes Tymoshenko jailing

Ukraine’s jailing of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was a politically motivated violation of her rights, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday, dealing a blow to President Viktor Yanukovych, who has insisted that the case against his top opponent was not political.

The prosecution of Tymoshenko has strained the former Soviet state’s ties with the European Union and the United States, and Tuesday’s ruling put fresh pressure on Yanukovych to ensure Tymoshenko’s release if he wants to sign a cooperation agreement with Brussels later this year.

The government had no immediate comment.

Tymoshenko, a heroine of Ukraine’s 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution, was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011 after being convicted of exceeding her powers as premier while negotiating a gas contract with Russia.

— Associated Press

Activist held, accused of insulting president

A prominent Egyptian campaigner was detained Tuesday over accusations of insulting President Mohamed Morsi, state media reported.

A court in the town of Tanta ruled that Ahmed Douma should be held for four days, pending investigation into charges of “deliberately spreading false news and rumors,” including calling Morsi a criminal and a murderer, during two recent television appearances, a court official said.

Dozens of cases of “insulting the president” have been brought since Morsi took office last June. Activists said the case is the latest example of the government using the courts to target its liberal and secular critics.

— Reuters

Property of Bangladesh building owner to be seized: A top Bangladesh court ordered the government to “immediately” confiscate the property of Mohammed Sohel Rana, the owner of a building that collapsed last week, as thousands of protesters demanding the death penalty for Rana clashed with police, leaving 100 people injured. A High Court panel also asked the central bank to freeze the assets of the owners of the five garment factories in the building and use the money to pay the salaries and other benefits of their workers.

10 die in new anti-Muslim violence in Burma: Buddhist mobs hurling bricks overran two mosques and set hundreds of homes ablaze in central Burma on Tuesday, injuring at least 10 people in the latest anti-Muslim violence to shake the Southeast Asian nation. The unrest in Okkan, about 70 miles north of Rangoon, was the first reported since late March, when similar Buddhist-led violence swept the town of Meikthila, farther north, killing at least 43 people.

Bombings signal Taliban spring offensive: Roadside bomb attacks in Afghanistan killed three NATO service members and nine Afghans, officials said, clear evidence that the insurgents’ annual spring offensive is underway. The service members died in southern Afghanistan, the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan said without elaborating.

Church ousts Brazilian priest over liberal views: The Catholic Church has excommunicated a Brazilian priest after he defended homosexuality, open marriage and other practices counter to church teaching in online videos. The rare punishment follows what Father Roberto Francisco Daniel’s bishop and the priest himself said were repeated rebukes about his public challenges of church doctrine.

— From news services