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Friday, December 19, 2014

World briefs

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Canada
Even after limiting its uranium enrichment to 20 percent concentration on Monday, Iran will continue to incur Canada’s sanctions in their totality. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in an address to the Israeli government Monday that “Canada’s own sanctions will remain fully in place,” according to Agence France-Presse. Canada’s decision comes despite the United States’ and the European Union’s moving to withdraw sanctions against Iran upon the announcement, which was a result of the countries’ negotiations in November.

Central African Republic
Catherine Samba-Panza, former mayor of the Central Africa Republic capital of Bangui, was elected to the interim presidential seat on Monday. Samba-Panza prevailed over seven other candidates for the seat going into a runoff, and acquired 75 legislator votes against the 53 votes rival Desire Kolingba garnered, Reuters reported. Samba-Panza, 59, succeeds previous president Michel Djotodia who, in March, led the Muslim rebel coalition Seleka into national power. Djotodia stepped down earlier this month in the midst of militia attacks and pressures from neighboring leaders and France, its former colonial power.

Spain
Newly appointed Spanish cardinal Fernando Sebastian Aguilar has claimed that homosexuality is a “defect,” according to a magazine article published Sunday. “I say that homosexuality is a defective way of manifesting sexuality, because that has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation,” the cardinal told Malaga newspaper Sur. AFP reported that Aguilar was chosen by Pope Francis for the position a week earlier, and is going to be officially appointed on Feb. 22. Aguilar’s statement has sparked protests in Madrid, AFP reported.

Syria
An explosion at Bab al-Hawa, a crossing at Syria’s border with Turkey, killed 16 people on Monday, Reuters reported. Two car bombs exploded on the Syrian side of the crossing within 10 minutes of each other, Turkish authorities reported. According to Reuters, at least six of the casualties were Syrian Islamic fighters, and about 20 people were wounded by the blasts. The Turkish side of the crossing was not damaged and is now closed, authorities reported. The Syrian side is at present in the power of a rebel alliance called the Islamic Front.

Vietnam
After a 17-day trial for the country’s largest drug trafficking case, courts have sentenced 30 smugglers — all Vietnamese citizens — to the death penalty. Another 59 people received life sentences in prison, according to AFP. Vietnamese investigators found that the defendants were part of four smuggling rings that transported drugs from Laos to bordering Vietnam and China from 2006 until police started mass arrests in August 2013. Police are still on the hunt for one of the leaders of the smuggling rings, according to AFP.