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Indian village council orders gang-rape of woman as punishment

A woman was gang-raped by some 12 men on the orders of a village council in eastern India as punishment for apparently having an affair, a police officer said Thursday. The council ordered the horrific penalty to be carried out in a village in West Bengal state on Tuesday night after the 20-year-old woman was discovered with a man from another community, a senior officer said.

Bus bombing kills 22 pilgrims in southwest Pakistan

At least 22 Shiite pilgrims returning from Iran were killed and 20 others wounded when a bomb hit a bus in the southwest Pakistan province of Baluchistan Tuesday, officials said. The attack took place at Dringhar village on the Pakistan-Iran highway some 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of Quetta, Baluchistan's capital. "At least 22 people were killed and 20 others were wounded," local government official Shafqat Shahwani told AFP. He said 51 passengers had been on board at the time of the blast and that nine passengers were still unaccounted for.

White House calls for immediate end to Ukraine violence

The White House called for an immediate end Sunday to clashes between security forces and protesters in Ukraine, warning of possible sanctions. "We are deeply concerned by the violence taking place today on the streets of Kiev and urge all sides to immediately de-escalate the situation," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. oh/vlk

Mali arrests Islamist judge who ordered amputations and stonings

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Mali's army has arrested a hardline Islamist judge who ordered floggings, amputations and the stoning of women for adultery during a 10-month occupation by rebels linked to al Qaeda. Houka Houka Ag Alfousseyni, who held court in the Timbuktu region, was detained on Friday as part of a military operation against armed Islamist groups that are plaguing local communities, the government said in a statement.

Those responsible for CAR atrocities 'must be held accountable': US envoy

The US envoy to the United Nations said that those behind brutal attacks in the in the Central African Republic be brought to justice. "Those responsible for atrocities must be held accountable. That is a very important element of preventing future violence and cycles of violence," Samantha Power said on a visit to Bangui. pgf-hba/ric/txw

US envoy on surprise visit to Central Africa

The US envoy to the United Nations Samantha Power flew into Central African Republic Thursday on a surprise visit to urge its leaders to help end the violence, warning the people there were "in profound danger." Power is the highest-level US official to visit Central Africa, which has plunged into brutal anarchy with inter-religious violence that has killed hundreds of people. jkb-pgf/hba/txw/yad

Donnie Snook gets three months added to 18-year term for child sex offences

SAINT JOHN, N.B. - A former city councillor in Saint John, N.B., already serving an 18-year prison term for child pornography and sexual assault offences has been given three more months behind bars for separate child sex offences in western Newfoundland. Donnie Snook told provincial court in Saint John he was sorrowful for the crimes, which police said involved one boy. "I have deep sadness for the darkness I have created for so many people," Snook said Tuesday. "It's too late to change the things I've done."

Russia accused over police violence

A Council of Europe panel on Tuesday asked Russia to stop submitting suspects in police custody to ill-treatment following allegations of electric shocks, punches and other use of force that could be considered as amounting to torture. Published after visits to several Russian "places of deprivation of liberty" in 2012, a report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) highlighted allegations of "extensive beating and asphyxiation with a plastic bag".

Bangladesh court upholds death penalty for top Islamist

Bangladesh's highest court upheld the death penalty for a top Islamist leader convicted of war crimes, just two days after he was given a dramatic last-minute reprieve from execution. The Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Muzammel Hossain "dismissed" Abdul Quader Molla's appeal for a final review of his death sentence, meaning he could now be hanged as early as midnight Thursday. "There is now no legal bar to execute him," Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told AFP in the court, amid applause by pro-government lawyers.

Japan hangs killers, bringing PM Abe's count to eight

Japan hanged two men on Thursday, bringing to eight the number of prisoners executed since the conservative government of Shinzo Abe came to power a year ago. "There are various criticisms of the death penalty... but Japanese law allows for it and I believe we have people's support in principle," Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said as he announced the latest executions. Apart from the United States, Japan is the only major industrialised democracy to use capital punishment.
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