KIEV, Ukraine

Opposition leader urges crowd to obey cease-fire

A top Ukrainian opposition leader Thursday urged protesters to maintain a shaky cease-fire with police after at least two demonstrators were killed in clashes this week, but some in the crowd appeared defiant, jeering and chanting “revolution” and “shame.”

Emerging from hours-long talks with President Viktor Yanukovych, opposition leader Oleh Tyahnybok asked demonstrators in Kiev for several more days of a truce, saying the president has agreed to ensure the release of dozens of detained protesters and stop further detentions.

But other opposition leaders offered mixed reports on the outcome of the meeting, with Vitali Klitschko saying negotiations had achieved little.



Virginia AG files court opinion against gay marriage ban

Newly elected Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring filed a court opinion Thursday declaring the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and announcing his office will no longer defend the law.

The decision follows recent federal court opinions striking down gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma.


Drive-by assailants kill five officers at checkpoint

Drive-by assailants gunned down five police officers at a checkpoint in the south of Egypt early Thursday, state media reported, in the most serious attack against security forces in nearly a month.


In addition to the five killed, two officers were wounded in the attack in the governorate of Beni Suief, about 80 miles south of the capital, the Interior Ministry said.

The attack took place two days before the anniversary of the start of the 2011 uprising against authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak – a date that is also a holiday honoring the country’s police. Tens of thousands of police and soldiers were to be deployed to stave off any unrest.


Thirteen suspects arrested in connection with rape

A 20-year-old woman in India’s West Bengal state says she was gang-raped on the orders of a village council because she fell in love with a man from a different community, police said Thursday.

It was the latest in a series of high-profile cases that have focused attention on the problem of sexual violence in India.


Thirteen suspects, including the leader of the council, were arrested in connection with the alleged assault, according to Indian news reports.

RABAT, Morocco

Parliament amends law letting rapists avoid prison

Morocco’s parliament has voted to amend an article in the penal code allowing the rapist of an underage girl to avoid prosecution if he then married his victim.

The controversial Article 475 became a subject of public scrutiny and sparked debate following the rape, forced marriage and suicide of 16-year-old Amina Filali in 2012.

The Islamist government began considering legal changes following the suicide of Amina, who was raped by a resident of her village near the northern city of Larache.

She was pressured into marrying her 23-year-old attacker in order to protect the family’s honor and save her reputation, and to allow him to avoid prison. She later killed herself by swallowing rat poison.

– From news service reports

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