HARI SREENIVASAN: The backlash against Islamist militias in Libya gained momentum today. The military named army officers to replace the heads of two of the most powerful militias. That followed the fatal assault on the U.S. Consulate there that killed the American ambassador. On Sunday, Libyan President Mohammed Al-Magarief ordered all militias to obey the government or disband.
In Egypt today, 14 members of an extremist group were sentenced to death by hanging. The men were convicted in attacks on a police station and bank in the Sinai Peninsula in June of 2011. Six of the men were present for the sentencing, but eight others were tried in absentia and remain fugitives.
A former police chief at the heart of a major political scandal in China is facing 15 years in prison. That sentence was imposed today on Wang Lijun for trying to defect to the U.S., and helping cover up the murder of a British businessman. Wang apologized for his crimes today in court.
WANG LIJUN, former police chief (through translator): I truly express my repentance to the court for my criminal behavior and the law that I broke. I will pay off the pity and hurt that I caused throughout the rest of my life to the people and the party that care about me. For now, I can only sincerely say that I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry. I let you down.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The Wang case led to the downfall of his former boss, Bo Xilai, a once powerful Communist Party leader. He is still under investigation. Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, was given a suspended death sentence last month for the murder of the British businessman.
The Taiwanese company that makes Apple’s iPhones halted production today at a Chinese factory after a brawl overnight. It involved up to 2,000 employees at the Foxconn plant in Taiyuan. Some of them said it started after a security guard roughed up a worker.
In the past year, Foxconn has come under scrutiny for alleged labor abuses. The company said production at the plant would resume tomorrow. It employs more than a million workers worldwide.
Two U.S. Marines will be court-martialed on charges they urinated on the bodies of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan last year. Images of the incident surfaced in January, touching off a wave of Afghan anger and violence directed at U.S. troops. Both of the suspects are staff sergeants. In addition to them, three enlisted Marines have already been given lesser punishment.
The government of Iran has blocked unfettered access to Google, and it is switching the country to a domestic Internet network. The announcement means Google’s search engine and Gmail service will be filtered. An Iranian news agency reported the move was connected to that anti-Islamic film that was posted on Google’s YouTube site.
On Wall Street today, stocks struggled to find momentum and ended up losing ground. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 20 points to close below 13,559. The Nasdaq fell 19 points to close at 3,160.
The National Zoo in Washington searched today for answers after a six-day-old panda cub died on Sunday. Zoo officials reported the cub had liver abnormalities and fluid in its abdomen. But the exact cause of death won’t be confirmed for two more weeks. The cub is believed to have been female. It was the first giant panda born at the zoo since 2005.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.