Court blocks limits on Maliki’s tenure

Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court said Tuesday it has rejected a law that would have prevented embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from seeking a third term after 2014 national elections.

The court said on its Web site that it has ruled unconstitutional a controversial law that limits the premier, president and parliament speaker to two terms.

Maliki first became prime minister in 2006. He secured a second term after nearly nine months of political wrangling following the 2010 national elections. After the term-limits law was passed in January by 170 members of the 275-seat legislature, his allies dubbed it illegal and vowed to appeal it.

Opposition lawmakers said Tuesday that they believe the court came under political pressure to overturn the law.

Also Tuesday, authorities reported that at least eight people were killed in violent attacks.

In the deadliest incident, a bomb exploded outside a tribal sheik’s house in Madain, 15 miles southeast of Baghdad. A second blast followed as onlookers gathered. A total of six people were killed, police said.

In the restive northern city of Mosul, drive-by shooters killed a tribal sheik and a police officer in separate attacks, police said.

— Associated Press

Top security official gunned down in car

A senior security official was killed by unidentified gunmen in Russia’s Ingushetia republic, local police said Tuesday, the latest violence in a region plagued by an Islamist insurgency and near the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Ahmed Kotiyev, head of the regional Security Council, and his driver were shot dead by men who sprayed their car with bullets on a highway 19 miles north of the major city of Nazran. The shooting followed a botched attempt
to assassinate Kotiyev in June, when assailants fired a grenade at his house.

Ingushetia, west of Chechnya, is part of an area where militants wage almost daily violence to try to establish an Islamist state in the patchwork of mostly Muslim regions in the Caucasus mountains. Kotiyev had helped militants seeking to leave the insurgency.

— Reuters

12 Afghan civilians found dead in two incidents: A spokesman for the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation said the bodies of six people kidnapped Sunday by the Taliban were found Tuesday in the Gulran district of Afghanistan’s western Herat province after talks failed. He said five of them worked for an international nongovernmental organization and one for the ministry. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the eastern province of Paktia said the bodies of six unidentified civilians had been found there alongside a road.

Colombian rebels free Canadian: Colombia’s ELN rebels freed a Canadian geologist they had held captive for seven months, meeting one of President Juan Manuel Santos’s preconditions for peace talks with the group. Jernoc Wobert was seized Jan. 18 along with two Peruvian and three Colombian miners contracted by the Toronto-based Braeval Mining gold-mining company. His colleagues were later freed by the leftist ELN, or National Liberation Army, the smaller of two rebel groups fighting the government for almost five decades.

Libya to try Gaddafi son next month: A son of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi was charged with murder, along with Gaddafi’s spy chief, in relation to the country’s 2011 civil war, officials said. The defendants — former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, once his father’s heir apparent — are to go on trial Sept. 19, as are 26 other former regime members.

Mexican vigilantes attack police: Vigilantes in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero attacked local police officers in Tixtla, beat them and stole their assault rifles, state officials said. The town’s chief of police was wounded, apparently with a machete. The conflict with the radical “self-defense” group threatens a fragile detente that state officials have achieved with vigilantes.

Cuba reports cholera cases: Cuba has reported a cholera outbreak to international health monitors, with 163 new cases this year associated with three provinces. According to a bulletin by the Pan American Health Organization, patients who contracted the waterborne disease included 12 travelers from European and Latin American nations. There were no reported fatalities.

— From news services