BEIJING – China said today that it would boost its defense spending by 11.2 percent in 2012, the latest in a nearly two-decade string of double-digit increases.
Although the planned figure is less than last year’s 12.7 percent increase, China’s military leaders have said they are unhappy with recent moves by the Obama administration to increase the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Only twice since the early 1990s has the increase been less than double digits.
China’s official defense spending is the largest in the world after the United States, but actual spending, according to foreign defense experts, may be 50 percent higher, as China excludes outlays for its nuclear missile force and other programs.
Two trains collide head-on in Poland
WARSAW, Poland – Two trains collided head-on in southern Poland late Saturday, killing at least eight people and injuring around 50 in what appears to be one of the worst rail disasters in the country in recent years, officials said.
Both trains were traveling on the same track but toward each other and collided head-on, Andrzej Pawlowski, a member of the board of the state railway company PKP, said in an interview on the all-news station TVN24.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the southbound train ended up on the wrong track. Maintenance work was being carried out on one of the tracks.
Village chieftaincy sparks deadly clash
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso – Ethnic clashes in a southern village of Burkina Faso have left at least 10 people dead, in a dispute over which community has the right to appoint a local chief, state radio reported Saturday.
The report said the violence between the Liliou and the Akonga communities was sparked by a disagreement over the chieftaincy of the village of Guenon, located more than 80 miles south of Ouagadougou, the capital of the landlocked West African nation.
The Liliou is rejecting the current chief, who is from the Akonga ethnic group. The rivalry culminated Friday when the son of the Akonga chief was killed by the Liliou group. More than 100 houses have been set ablaze, state radio reported. The Akonga sought revenge, killing nine members of the rival community.
Suit over cartoon rejected by court
CAIRO – An Egyptian court on Saturday rejected the second of two lawsuits brought by ultraconservative Islamists accusing a Christian media mogul of insulting Islam when he relayed a cartoon online of Mickey Mouse with a beard and Minnie in a face veil.
The judge ruled the plaintiff was not eligible to file the religious defamation lawsuit and sent the case back to the state prosecutor’s office for further investigation. The first lawsuit against Naguib Sawiris was thrown out by a different court last week on similar grounds.