World briefs

GUAM The tiny U.S. territory of Guam feels a strong sense of patriotism and confidence in the American military, which has an enormous presence on the Pacific island. But residents are increasingly worried over Washington’s escalating war of words with North Korea. 

NEPAL’s parliament has passed a bill toward making women safer by strengthening laws against acid attacks along with the ancient Hindu customs of demanding dowry payments for marriage and exiling women who are menstruating. Violators who force women into exile face punishments of up to three months in jail or a fine of about USD29. 

YEMEN’s national blood bank faces a complete shutdown within a week after a medical aid charity ended its two-year support, the facility’s director said yesterday, warning that the closure could exacerbate the existing humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country. 

MALDIVES Human rights groups expressed concern yesterday over the Maldives government’s purported plan to carry out its first execution in 60 years.

THAILAND A 91-year old woman in Thailand has earned a college degree after spending more than 10 years studying for it and has received her diploma from the country’s king.

US-CUBA The two-year-old U.S. diplomatic relationship with Cuba has been roiled by what U.S. officials say was a string of bizarre incidents that left a group of American diplomats in Havana with severe hearing loss attributed to a covert sonic device. 

SOUTH AFRICA Two men released from al-Qaida captivity after six years in northern Mali made their first public appearances Thursday, recounting their ordeals and saying they were not clear whether any ransom was paid for their freedom.

VENEZUELAN opposition parties, reeling after President Nicolas Maduro installed a legislative super-body that usurps the little power they had, will participate in gubernatorial elections this year, a choice they described as an act of defiance. Yet Maduro’s allies made clear their authoritarian intentions, stating they decide who gets to run for office.

GERMANY’s federal prosecutors say they’ve opened an investigation into whether Vietnam conducted illegal espionage in Berlin, after a Vietnamese national wanted by that country on embezzlement charges was kidnapped here and spirited home.

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