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In brief: Iranian minister blasts Ahmadinejad for firing

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s former foreign minister criticized the president Sunday for abruptly firing him last week in the middle of an official visit to Africa, saying the dismissal was “un-Islamic, undiplomatic and offensive,” according to a local media report.

The former minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said he was caught unaware when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the decision to fire him while he was away on a diplomatic mission in Senegal, Mehr news agency reported. Ahmadinejad appointed nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi as acting foreign minister.

Mottaki added his criticism to an outcry by parliament members who rival Ahmadinejad from within his own conservative camp. He said that he was not told about the dismissal before or during his trip.

State of siege declared in Guatemalan province

COBAN, Guatemala – The Guatemalan military declared a state of siege Sunday in a northern province that authorities say has been overtaken by Mexican drug traffickers.

The government initiated the monthlong measure in the Alta Verapaz province to reclaim cities that have been taken over by the Zetas drug gang, Ronaldo Robles, a spokesman for Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, told radio station Emisoras Unidas.

“It is to bring peace to the people and recover their confidence in the government,” he said.

A state of siege allows the army to detain suspects without warrants, conduct warrantless searches, prohibit gun possession and public gatherings, and control the local news media.

Solo teen sailor finishes longest leg of journey

PHILIPSBURG, St. Martin – A 15-year-old Dutch sailor on Sunday completed the longest leg so far of her attempted circumnavigation of the globe, saying it felt “really weird” to be back on dry land after nearly three weeks out in the ocean.

Fifteen-year-old Laura Dekker, aiming to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world, was in good spirits after completing the 2,200 nautical-mile trip from the Cape Verde Islands off West Africa.

Dekker anchored her ketch just outside Simpson Bay Lagoon after what she called “a very nice trip” so far.


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