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Afghan detainees still being tortured, U.N. says

Afghanistan

Detainees still tortured, U.N. says

Suspected insurgents continue to be tortured at numerous Afghan detention facilities, the United Nations reported Sunday.

More than half of the 635 detainees questioned by U.N. investigators in the 12 months ending in October were ill-treated or tortured, including being subjected to severe beatings or electric shocks, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said.

The allegations, which the Afghan government calls "exaggerated," are likely to complicate discussions about the handling of detainees, a source of debate between the United States and Afghanistan as the countries prepare for the departure of most foreign troops next year.

Many of the suspected fighters who end up in Afghan custody are captured by U.S. and allied troops. The NATO-led force said it has suspended the transfer of detainees to the facilities listed in the report and is trying to address abuses.

NEW YORK

Texas attorney general woos New Yorkers

Attention New Yorkers: Texas wants you. And your guns.

Last week, the day after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a broad package of gun-control measures that made the state's tough gun laws even tougher, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott began running Internet advertisements in Manhattan and Albany asking New York gun owners to consider moving to Texas. The two ads — displayed on news sites and aimed at Web users with Manhattan and Albany ZIP codes — promote the state's low taxes and gun culture, with one asking, "Is Gov. Cuomo looking to take your guns?"

Germany

Merkel's coalition loses state vote

Germany's center-left opposition won a thin victory over Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition in a major state election Sunday, dealing a setback as she seeks a third term at the helm of Europe's biggest economy later this year.

The opposition Social Democrats and Greens won a single-seat majority in the legislature in Lower Saxony, ousting the coalition of Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union and the pro-market Free Democrats that has run the northwestern region for 10 years. The same parties form the national government.

The 58-year-old Merkel will seek another four-year term in a national parliamentary election expected in September. She and her party are riding high in national polls, but the opposition hoped the Lower Saxony vote would show she is vulnerable.

Egypt

Part of courthouse burned in clashes

A courthouse went up in flames in Egypt's northern Mediterranean city of Alexandria during clashes between protesters and riot police Sunday, according to witnesses.

The blaze destroyed part of the building, burning some files. A security official said unidentified assailants were responsible.

This was the second straight day of clashes there ahead of the two-year anniversary of Egypt's uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Families of those killed in the uprising remain frustrated over the pace of reform.

Greece

Bomb explodes at Athens shopping mall

A bomb exploded at a shopping mall in Athens on Sunday, slightly wounding two security guards and forcing the evacuation of about 200 people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, the latest in a string of violent attacks.

Two warning calls were made to local media about 50 minutes before the blast, leading authorities to evacuate people from the four-story mall in the Maroussi suburb, a police official told the Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Shops are closed at the mall on Sundays but restaurants and movie theaters are open. The device exploded about 20 minutes before some movies were to start, mainly children's films.

Times wires

Afghan detainees still being tortured, U.N. says 01/21/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 21, 2013 12:25am]

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