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Aug. 17, 2012 at 5:52 PM
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Pussy Riot members get 2 years in prison

MOSCOW, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A Moscow judge Friday sentenced three members of Russian feminist band Pussy Riot to two years in prison after finding them guilty of hooliganism.

In announcing her verdict, Judge Marina Syrova said Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, carefully planned a performance of a protest song in a church, RIA Novosti reported.

"The defendants were aware of the offensive nature of their actions," Syrova said. "They sought to publicize their act and provoke a public reaction; they wanted to insult not only church clergy but also the broad sections of society."

"They have deeply hurt and insulted the faithful," the judge said.

Three band members have been jailed for more than five months, which is the equivalent of 10 months in prison per Russian law, RIA Novosti said. Under the same terms, the band members could be released in 14 months.


34 killed in S. Africa miner-police clash

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- South Africa's police commissioner defended police officers who shot and killed 34 striking workers at a platinum mine. Seventy-eight people were wounded.

Police opened fire Thursday at the Marikana mine in Rustenburg -- 60 miles northwest of Johannesburg -- during efforts to disperse armed, striking workers who had gathered on a nearby hill, The New York Times reported.

"The militant group stormed towards the police firing shots and wielding dangerous weapons," Commissioner Riah Phiyega said Friday.

The commissioner said police had been unable to repel the miners with rubber bullets, water cannons and stun grenades,

"This is no time for finger-pointing. It is a time for us to mourn the sad and black moment we experienced as a country," Phiyega said.

"Police did everything they could ... but [the miners] said they were not leaving and are prepared to fight," Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told Talk Radio 702, in Johannesburg.


Karachi bomb blast kills 1, injures 10

KARACHI, Pakistan, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A bomb blast Friday in Karachi, Pakistan, killed one person and injured more than 10 others, officials said.

The bomb went off near Karachi's Safari Park, Dawn News reported. Police have cordoned off the area and are now inspecting the scene.

Early reports said the blast targeted a bus transporting people to a rally. However, local television channels have quoted police as saying a gas cylinder of a car had exploded, causing the damage.

Other sources told Dawn News the blast came from a roadside bomb.


Egyptian police arrest 20 protesters

SHARQAWEYA, Egypt, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Police arrested 20 people for blocking a main road in Egypt in a protest over the alleged torture and death of a man, the Interior Ministry said Friday.

The Cairo-Alexandria Agricultural Road was blocked for nine hours, the Ministry said in a statement.

The protest was centered in the village of Sharqaweya, where a citizen, identified as Sameh M.F., 32, was arrested Wednesday for dug possession, the Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm said Friday.

The suspect's family charged he was beaten to death at the nearby Shubra al-Kheima police station, but the ministry statement said he felt sick after arriving at the police station and died after he was transferred to a hospital.


Lebanese military seeks emergency order

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Lebanon's military leader Friday urged declaration of a state of emergency in light of spillover into Lebanon from the unrest in Syria.

Samir Geagea told a Beirut news conference he was alarmed by kidnappings by a Lebanese clan in apparent retaliation for incidents in Syria and efforts to block highways leading to Beirut airport, The Daily Star reported.

"It is no longer acceptable for the Lebanese people to be hostage to the whims of whoever wishes to close roads," Geagea said.

Geagea said the Syrian government is upset Lebanon hasn't offered more support.

"Syria is resentful of the way the president and prime minister have been acting ... the Syrian government considered the current Cabinet to be its own so it automatically thought the government would help it," he said.


Iranians rally against Israel for Quds Day

TEHRAN, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday called Israel an "insult to all humanity" in a speech during an anti-Zionist Quds Day event in Tehran.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets across Iran for Quds Day, carrying signs bearing slogans such as "Down with the US" and "Death to Israel," The Jerusalem Post reported.

"Today, Israel and the Zionist entity are against the preservation of all human rights and human dignity," Ahmadinejad said at one event Friday.

During his speech, Ahmadinejad underscored Iran's support of Palestine and condemned the occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel, Iran's Fars News Agency reported.

"The Israeli regime is a tool in the hands of Zionists to control the Middle East and the entire world," Ahmadinejad stated.

The last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was declared Quds Day by Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in August 1979. Khomeini called on Iranians to rally in support of Palestinians and against Israel.


Tropical Storm Gordon moving eastward

MIAMI, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Tropical Storm Gordon is quickly moving eastward in the Atlantic Ocean toward the Azores, a National Hurricane Center advisory said Friday.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the storm was 980 miles west of the Azores, moving at 20 mph with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.

Gordon was expected to arrive in the Azores by late Sunday. A tropical storm watch for the central Azores was issued.

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