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World news briefs — compiled Dec. 19

CANADA

Panel endorses Asia pipeline

Canada’s regulator recommended Thursday the government approve a proposed pipeline to the Pacific Coast that would allow Canada’s oil to be shipped to Asia. A three-person review panel said opening Pacific markets to Canadian oil is important to the economy and thus supported Enbridge’s controversial pipeline. There are 209 conditions, but no major potential stumbling blocks such as a route change. Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver said the government will review the report and consult with affected aboriginal groups before deciding.

CUBA

Car access rule to be eased

Cuba is opening its automobile market and its roads to thousands of late-model cars by eliminating a special permit that sharply restricted the number of people allowed to buy vehicles from the state, the government announced Thursday. The communist government has a monopoly on the sale of imported vehicles. It has long required any potential buyer to obtain a special card from the Transport Ministry authorizing the purchase of a car. Potential buyers have been required to prove they obtained the cash for a car through approved means like working overseas as a state-employed doctor, musician or artist.

EGYPT

Rights group’s office raided

Egypt’s military-backed authorities on Thursday stepped up their crackdown on the liberal icons of the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, with security forces storming the headquarters of a rights group and arresting six activists, including a prominent youth organizer. Hours after the early morning raid in downtown Cairo, a criminal court in the Egyptian capital acquitted Hosni Mubarak’s two sons and his last prime minister of corruption charges in a case arising from a land sale dating back to some 20 years ago. The sons remain in detention and still face other corruption charges. Five of the six activists were released after nearly seven hours in detention. One of the five, lawyer Mahmoud Bilal, described in a news conference how plainclothes policemen blindfolded, beat and verbally abused them after binding their hands.

Compiled from wire reports.



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