In brief: Explosion rocks Kyrgyz capital

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – A blast has rocked the center of Kyrgyzstan’s capital ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Interior Ministry said the explosion took place early today outside the venue of a high-profile trial against top officials of the recently deposed government. There are no reported casualties.

Clashes between security forces and Islamic militants broke out Monday in the southern city of Osh.

Clinton is due to travel to the country Thursday.

Officials find 20 bodies in graves

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – The Mexican army discovered several clandestine graves holding at least 20 bodies near a ranch in the northern border state of Chihuahua, authorities said Monday.

Soldiers found the bodies of 19 men and one woman buried in 12 graves over the weekend in the town of Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua state prosecutor Jorge Gonzalez said.

Also in Chihuahua state, gunmen in two trucks chased and killed the newly appointed female police chief of the town of Meoqui on Monday. Hermila Garcia Quinones was driving to work when the attackers opened fire on her car, said Carlos Gonzalez, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office.

Court blocks woman’s pardon

ISLAMABAD – A surprise court intervention Monday in Pakistan could delay for years, or even scuttle, the chances of a presidential pardon for a Christian woman who has been condemned to death for blasphemy, lawyers and activists said.

The Lahore High Court issued an order Monday barring a presidential pardon for Asia Bibi because an appeal was pending before it. Pakistani officials previously had strongly indicated that Bibi would be pardoned shortly and then freed. The religious minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, concluded in a report sent to the president last week that Bibi was innocent.

Quake rattles southern Japan

TOKYO – A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck off Japan’s southern coast Tuesday, shaking a broad swath of the country and swaying buildings in downtown Tokyo.

No damage or injuries were immediately reported.

The temblor hit at 12:25 p.m. local time, with the epicenter near the Ogasawara islands.


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