Monday 19 March 2018

In brief: 'I'm wrongly accused of blasphemy' says Christian woman on death row

A Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan on charges of blaspheming Islam said yesterday she had been wrongfully accused by neighbours due to a personal dispute, and appealed to the president to pardon her.

Asia Bibi, a mother of four, is the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan's blasphemy law which rights groups say is often exploited by religious extremists as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle personal scores.

The 36-year-old farm worker was convicted on November 8. Her case has drawn international media attention as well as appeals by human rights groups.

Campaigners injured in police clashes

Clashes broke out between the Muslim Brotherhood and police at a campaign rally north of Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, leaving 10 injured amid an intense government crackdown on the opposition group ahead of next week's parliamentary elections.

Abdel Galil el-Sharnoubi, who runs the Brotherhood's website said police beat the supporters of the group's candidate Mohammed Fayyadh and arrested four others.

Donor organ in crash reaches patient

A donor organ that was involved in a plane crash was rushed to a UK hospital and implanted in a patient, officials said yesterday.

The Cessna carrying the organ clipped an antenna as it was landing at Birmingham Airport in thick fog on Friday, catching fire as it hit the ground. Two crew members were injured, but rescuers managed to rush the organ to Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Suicide bombers on bicycles kill four

Suicide bombers on bicycles killed four people and wounded 31 in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, the latest attacks to underscore the challenges Nato leaders face as they plan an exit from the war.

One bomber detonated his explosives at a police checkpoint in Mehtar Lam, the provincial capital of Laghman province, with the second striking several hundred metres away. All of the dead were civilians.

Terrorist plan to break into Reichstag

Germany's decision to step up security measures this week was prompted by a discovery of militant plans to break into the Reichstag parliament building and shoot hostages, a German magazine said yesterday.

The weekly Der Spiegel, citing security officials, said a jihadist living abroad had informed them of a plan for armed militants to enter the building in Berlin and open fire. It said police considered the information credible.

Madagascar coup crushed by army

Madagascar's army yesterday stormed a barracks housing dissident officers to end a four-day mutiny by a group who wanted to overthrow President Rajoelina.

Some of those officers who backed Rajoelina's rise to power last power last year were the ones calling for him to quit this week. Rajoelina has so far failed to win acceptance of the international community. The US froze development aid and the African Union slapped sanctions on him and 100 of his supporters.

Denmark welcomes Mermaid's return

Denmark's famed Little Mermaid statue is back on her perch after six months in China. The landmark left Denmark in April to become the centrepiece of the Danish pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai.

The move to China was controversial in Denmark, as some considered it disrespectful to ship a cultural treasure across the globe as a pr gesture.

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