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World news briefs — compiled March 13

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RUSSIA

Opposition websites banned

Russia on Thursday banned several websites notable for their criticism of the government as the Kremlin intensified its crackdown on independent media. The government communications watchdog said Grani.ru, Kasparov.ru and Yezhednevny Zhurnal have carried incitements to unlawful behavior and participation in unauthorized mass gatherings.

SYRIA

Parliament updates election law

Syria’s parliament unanimously approved a new election law Thursday allowing multiple candidates to run for president, opening the door — at least in theory — to other potential contenders besides President Bashar Assad. The vote comes nearly four months before Assad’s seven-year term as president officially expires.

NIGERIA

More than 100 villagers slain

Dozens of gunmen on motorbikes have killed more than 100 villagers in an ongoing conflict over land in northern Nigeria, survivors said Thursday. The attacks, which began Tuesday night, left scores of people fleeing from the four targeted villages.

Order to halt executions accepted

Nigeria’s justice minister said the government will respect a court ruling by the Economic Community of West African States ordering the country to stop carrying out executions. There are more than 1,000 prisoners on death row in Nigeria. Edo state last year broke a seven-year moratorium by hanging four convicted murderers.

EL SALVADOR

Leftist declared new president

El Salvador’s electoral court on Thursday declared leftist candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren the winner of the tight presidential election, making him the first former rebel commander to win the presidency. With about 3 million ballots cast in Sunday’s runoff election, Sanchez Ceren defeated conservative Norman Quijano by less than 7,000 votes.

Compiled from wire reports.


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