World briefs

CHINA Three members of an imprisoned pastor’s family have sneaked out of China to the U.S. with the help of activists after complaining about an extended campaign of harassment by Chinese authorities, a Christian rights group said yesterday.

PHILIPPINESPhilippines US War On Terror Dozens of communist rebels attacked armed tribesmen, who were later reinforced by army troops, in a southern Philippine province, igniting pockets of fighting that killed 18 combatants, military officials said. It was one of the bloodiest, single-day attacks this year from Marxist insurgency.

PHILIPPINES World Bank president says the bank and its private sector arm have committed concessional loans of up to USD4.2 billion to the Philippines to help the country reduce poverty, create jobs and sustain growth as it recovers from the impact of a devastating typhoon and separatist rebellion.

AUSTRALIA Survivors of one of the country’s deadliest wildfires are to be awarded nearly 500 million Australian dollars (USD470 million) in a class action settlement, the largest such compensation in the nation’s history.

S KOREA  A South Korean soldier accused of going on a deadly shooting spree has testified that he opened fire on colleagues after seeing drawings they made of him that he considered insulting, military investigators said.

APTOPIX Russia Subway DerailmentRUSSIA A rush-hour subway train derailed yesterday in Moscow, killing 20 people and sending 150 others to the hospital, many with serious injuries, Russian officials said. The Russian capital’s airports and transit systems have been hit by several terrorist attacks in the past two decades but multiple officials yesterday vigorously dismissed terrorism as a possible cause.

IRAQ Lawmakers broke their deadlock and elected a new speaker of parliament, taking the first formal step toward forming a new government that is widely seen as crucial to confronting militants who have overrun much of the country. Still, it was not clear whether lawmakers had reached a larger deal that would also include agreement on the most contentious decision — the choice for prime minister.

AFGHANISTAN A suicide bomber blew up his car packed with explosives near a busy market and a mosque in eastern Afghanistan, killing 89 people and wounding more than 40, officials said.

UKRAINE An airstrike demolished an apartment block in eastern Ukraine yesterday, killing at least nine civilians. The attack adds to the steadily growing number of civilians killed over four months in a dogged pro-Russian insurgency. Government officials denied the Tuesday strike was carried out by Ukraine’s air force.

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