World briefs

CHINA Officials and businesspeople used a state trip by President Xi Jinping and other high-level visits to smuggle ivory out of Tanzania, an environmental watchdog says in a report that cast doubt over Beijing’s efforts to stamp out the illegal trade that has led to rampant elephant poaching throughout Africa.

AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Tony Abbott says that he remains determined to secure a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to demand full cooperation in the investigation into the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine.

MYANMAR The body of a freelance journalist shot by Myanmar’s army show signs that he was tortured before he died, his wife said Thursday. Ma Thandar said the body, which was exhumed Wednesday, had a broken skull, broken jaw and two penetration marks on the chest.

Burkina Faso Opposition leaders and members of civil society met yesterday in Burkina Faso to establish ground rules for a transitional government and what they expect from its leader.

NEW ZEALAND The drummer for rock band AC/DC yesterday was accused of trying to arrange two killings. Phil Rudd made a brief appearance at the Tauranga District Court in his adopted home of New Zealand and was charged with attempting to procure murder, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.

NEW ZEALAND The owners of a New Zealand coal mine where the bodies of 29 workers remain entombed after a methane-fueled explosion four years ago said yesterday they won’t go back into the mine because it remains too dangerous. The announcement by state-owned company Solid Energy dashed the hopes of those who had sought to recover the remains of their loved ones from the Pike River mine, located on the South Island.

AFGHANISTAN The head of NATO pays an unannounced visit to Kabul, where he vows that the Western alliance will continue supporting the country after foreign combat troops withdraw at the end of the year. “We are ending the combat mission and are starting a new chapter in which the future of Afghanistan is in the hands if the Afghan people,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

ISRAELI forces may have committed war crimes when they stormed an aid flotilla boat heading to Gaza in 2010, but the possible crimes are not grave enough to merit a prosecution at the International Criminal Court, the court’s prosecutor said yesterday.

USA-MYANMAR A group of U.S. lawmakers is telling President Barack Obama to pressure Myanmar’s government to allow opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president.

USA Space tourism company Virgin Galactic that suffered a tragic setback when its experimental rocket-powered spaceship broke apart over the California desert could resume test flights as early as next summer if it can finish building a replacement craft, its CEO said Wednesday.

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