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U.S. envoy urges China to improve human rights record

BEIJING

U.S. envoy urges China to boost human rights

The U.S. ambassador to China on Saturday urged Beijing to improve its human rights record, pointing to imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo as an example where China falls short. In a statement released on the U.N.'s International Human Rights Day, envoy Gary Locke said protection of human rights in China had not kept up with the country's massive economic gains. Locke said the imprisonment of Liu and restrictions on the freedoms of his wife, the disappearance of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, the unlawful detention of Chinese citizens such as lawyer Chen Guangcheng, and constraints on the religious freedom and practices of Tibetan, Uighur and Christian communities "do not bring China closer to achieving its stated goals." China defends its human rights record, saying it has vastly improved living conditions for its citizens.

OKLAHOMA CITY

Two killed in crash of small plane

A small plane owned by an Oklahoma construction company crashed near Chickasha, killing two men, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Saturday. Pilot Rocky Joe Beller, 47, of Goldsby, and Calvin Scott Beller, 50, of Purcell, both died at the scene about 40 miles southwest of Oklahoma City and were the only ones on board the aircraft, according to the OHP, which said the investigation was turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration. The crash happened about 8:45 p.m. Friday, according to the OHP.

MANILA, Philippines

Filipino militants release U.S. teen

A 14-year-old American boy who was abducted with his mother and cousin by suspected Muslim militants in the southern Philippines was released Saturday from five months of jungle captivity, the Philippine military said. The boy, Kevin Lunsmann, was found on southern Basilan Island, a stronghold of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf rebels, who are believed to be behind the kidnapping, said military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang. The boy's Filipino-American mother, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, was freed two months ago. Their Filipino cousin, Romnick Jakaria, escaped last month when special Philippine army forces came near an Abu Sayyaf camp in the mountains of Basilan.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia

2,080 lashes for raping daughter

An official Saudi newspaper said a man convicted of raping his daughter has been sentenced to receive 2,080 lashes over the course of a 13-year prison term. The court in Mecca found the man guilty of raping his teenage daughter for seven years while under the influence of drugs. The Okaz newspaper reported Saturday that the man will receive the lashes in stages throughout his prison sentence. Saudi religious police said the girl's uncle tipped them off to the crime.

Elsewhere

Mexico: An earthquake struck Mexico's western Guerrero state Saturday night, shaking buildings just over 100 miles away in Mexico City. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The U.S. Geological Service estimated the quake's magnitude at 6.7.

Argentina: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, 58, took the oath of office for the second time Saturday, the only female leader in Latin America to be re-elected.

Times wires

U.S. envoy urges China to improve human rights record 12/10/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 10, 2011 9:40pm]
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