More Headlines: China Executes Briton Accused of Drug Smuggling

BY News Desk  December 29, 2009 at 10:34 AM EST

In other headlines Tuesday: despite multiple international appeals, China has executed a British drug smuggler who relatives say was mentally unstable and unwittingly lured into crime. In a statement, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, “I condemn the execution of Akmal Shaikh in the strongest terms, and am appalled and disappointed that our persistent requests for clemency have not been granted. I am particularly concerned that no mental health assessment was undertaken.”

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Next door to China, North Korea said it has detained a 28-year-old American man who illegally entered the country last week. According to reports, Robert Park traveled from Arizona to the communist nation to improve its human rights record.

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Russia needs “to develop offensive weapons systems” to counter U.S. missile defenses, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said. Putin’s statement comes as the U.S. and Russia are working to finalize a new nuclear disarmament treaty to replace the Cold War-era Start I agreement, which expired Dec. 5.

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U.S. home prices fell at a slower rate in October, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index released Tuesday, as the housing market continues to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. For October, the gauge of the housing market in 20 urban areas was down 7.3 percent compared to the year earlier period, the smallest year-over-year decline since October 2007.