In brief: Protesters livid over handling of child kidnapping, rape case
New Delhi – Several hundred people protesting the rape and kidnapping of a 5-year-old girl descended on police headquarters Saturday, waving signs, overrunning barriers and calling for the resignation of the capital city’s police commissioner.
The angry demonstration, which spread to a hospital and the homes of two senior officials, was reminiscent of the outcry seen after a 23-year-old student was brutally raped and killed in December, a crime that shook the nation and led to tougher laws and the creation of special courts for rape cases.
Police on Saturday arrested Manoj Kumar, 22, who had reportedly fled to the central impoverished state of Bihar after the attack on the 5-year-old. Authorities said he was being returned to New Delhi to face rape, kidnapping and attempted murder charges.
Public anger has been directed at police who, according to news reports, offered the child’s family $40 to keep quiet and told them they were lucky their child was alive. Doctors at the state-run All India Institute of Medical Sciences hospital told reporters that the child’s condition was stable.
Minor violence reported as Iraqis turn out for election
Baghdad – Iraq carried out its first election since the U.S. military withdrawal without major bloodshed Saturday in a major test for Iraqi security forces as they face a reviving al-Qaida insurgency. But delayed elections in two provinces wracked by anti-government protests and complaints about missing names on voter rolls tarnished the vote.
The results will be a key measure of support for the country’s vying political coalitions and could boost the victors’ chances heading into next year’s parliamentary elections. Thousands of candidates from 50 electoral blocs were vying for 378 seats on provincial councils, which hold sway over public works projects and other decisions at the local level.
Officials ratcheted up security to thwart insurgent attempts to disrupt the vote. Scattered violence – mainly mortar shells and small bombs – struck near polling places. They resulted in no fatalities, but six people were reported wounded Saturday.
Full election results were not expected for several days.
IMF calls for action as leaders voice grim economic outlook
Washington – World finance leaders issued a somber assessment on Saturday of the global economy, saying the recovery remains uneven with growth and jobs in short supply.
The steering committee for the 188-nation International Monetary Fund issued a final communique that called for decisive action to bolster growth. However, the major economies remained at odds over the best mix of policies to pursue.
“An uneven recovery is emerging, but growth and job creation are still too weak. New risks are arising while several old risks remain,” the IMF group said.
The United States was represented at the meetings by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The administration pushed for European nations to moderate their austerity programs of spending cuts and tax increases in favor of more stimulus to bolster growth.