Government and politics
DHAKA, Bangladesh - The execution of an opposition leader in Bangladesh sparked violent protests Friday as activists torched homes and businesses belonging to government supporters, leaving at least three people dead, in a new wave of bloodshed ahead of elections next month.
BANGUI, Central African Republic - French troops backed by a helicopter traded fire with suspected former rebels in a Bangui neighbourhood rife with sectarian tensions Friday, as France's military chief arrived in the Central African Republic capital.
PRETORIA, South Africa - Tens of thousands of South African mourners waited in line on Friday to view the body of Nelson Mandela, which was lying in state for the third and final day, with the likelihood that many would be turned away before the casket is taken away later in the day.
JOHANNESBURG - A South African Cabinet minister is apologizing for the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial who outraged deaf people worldwide by making signs they said amounted to gibberish.
In the highest-ranking apology yet from the government, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said Friday reforms must be implemented to ensure such an incident won't happen again.
PYONGYANG, North Korea - North Korea said Friday that it executed Kim Jong Un's uncle as a traitor for trying to seize supreme power, a stunning end for the leader's former mentor, long considered the country's No. 2.
MOSCOW - Russia's Supreme Court has ordered a review of the case against two jailed members of the Pussy Riot punk band saying that a lower court did not fully prove their guilt.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were found guilty of hooliganism motived by religious hatred in August 2012 following an impromptu protest in Moscow's main cathedral, and sentenced to two years in prison each. Samutsevich was released several months later on suspended sentence.
BANGKOK - For years, protesters in Thailand have used social media to organize rallies. Now they're taking smartphones to a new level.
Apps have been created that allow phones to help protesters perform the high-pitched, raucous noisemaking that is a staple of Thai demonstrations.
Chemical weapons were probably used in four locations in Syria this year, in addition to the confirmed attack near Damascus in August that forced the government to abandon its secret chemical stockpile, U.N. inspectors have said.
In a report released Thursday, the experts, led by Swedish professor Ake Sellstrom, examined seven alleged chemical weapons attacks and said it lacked information to corroborate the allegations at two locations.
CHICAGO - Imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Friday gets what's likely his last chance to win his freedom as a three-judge federal panel hears oral arguments in his appeal.
A lawyer for the disgraced Illinois Democrat steps before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to ask that it toss Blagojevich's corruption convictions.
KWETHLUK, Alaska - Christmas in Alaska came early this week to nearly 300 students attending school in the Yup'ik Eskimo village of Kwethluk.
Thanks to the volunteer program co-ordinated by the Alaska National Guard, Santa and Mrs. Claus greeted children in the western Alaska community and took pictures with them before helper elves handed out gifts.