Iranian president clashes with country’s judiciary

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad clashed Monday with the country’s judiciary over his right to visit the prison where a jailed aide is held, in a new sign of the leader’s waning influence in his last year in office.

He accused the judiciary of “unconstitutional” behavior and said that as Iran’s president he did not need permission to visit Evin prison, north of Tehran. The clash is part of an internal power struggle between Ahmadinejad and hardliners in Iran’s political elite.

Ahmadinejad, who cannot run for re-election because of term limits, once enjoyed the backing of the country’s conservative clerical establishment but lost it when he was perceived to challenge the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His top press adviser, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, was jailed last month after being convicted of publishing material deemed insulting to Khamenei.

KABUL, Afghanistan

Man says he stabbed wife who sought job

A man in a western Afghan city has confessed to stabbing his wife to death to prevent her from taking a job outside the home, police said Monday.

Mohammad Anwar, who was arrested in the provincial capital for the murder, said he killed his wife during an argument over whether she should work at a private company in the city, a Herat province police spokesman said.

The woman’s relatives disputed the account, saying her husband was a drug addict who killed his wife because she refused to give him money.

The killing comes less than two weeks after a woman was beheaded in the same city for refusing alleged demands by her in-laws to engage in prostitution.


U.N. peacekeeping force being planned for Syria

The United Nations is already planning for a peacekeeping force in Syria should a cease-fire in that country take hold and pending a Security Council mandate, the U.N. peacekeeping chief said Monday.

Herve Ladsous said, however, it was still too early to say how many peacekeepers might be deployed in such an eventual force.

“I would confirm that, of course, we are giving a lot of thought to what would happen if and when a political solution or at least a cease-fire would emerge,” Ladsous said.


Jordanian soldier killed during clash with militants

A Jordanian soldier was killed in clashes with armed militants trying to cross the border into Syria on Monday, and sectarian clashes overnight in Lebanon left four dead as Syria’s civil war spilled into neighboring countries.

Jordanian Information Minister Sameeh Maaytah said the soldier was the first member of the country’s military to be killed in violence related to Syria’s civil war. 

In Lebanon, troops launched a major security operation to open all roads and force gunmen off the streets, trying to contain an outburst of violence set off by the assassination of a top intelligence official who was a powerful opponent of Syria.


Every fifth resident of Spain living in poverty

Every fifth resident lives in poverty in Spain, new figures showed Monday.

The national statistics institute INE said 21.1 percent of the 47 million population lives below the poverty line, meaning they live on less than $9,610 annually.

That is slightly less than a year ago, when the percentage stood at 21.8 percent. The apparent improvement, however, is only due to the increase of elderly people whose pensions constitute a relatively stable income, INE said.

The number of children younger than 16 living in poverty has increased to 21 percent from 19.4 per cent in 2011. Families’ medium annual income dropped by 1.9 percent to $32,138. The number of households having a lot of difficulties to cover their costs went up to 12.7 percent from 9.8 percent.

– From news service reports