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Tuesday, March 08, 2022 8:09 AM

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TRIPOLI, Libya, March 8 (UPI) -- The Libyan government pursued its air assault near Ras Lanuf's oil refineries against anti-government rebels to drive them further east, witnesses said.

The government said the air attacks injured a family of five, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Reports about casualties conflicted. Witnesses said a man died when his vehicle was hit but hospital officials said the man survived. Rights organizations and others estimate 1,000 to 2,000 people have died since the protests began about a month ago.

The air attacks have helped negate recent gains by the rebels -- seeking the ouster of leader Moammar Gadhafi after more than 40 years of rule -- in their westward move toward Tripoli.

The elite Khamis Brigade maintained its pressure on opposition-held Zawiyah, west of Tripoli, using tanks, artillery and snipers, a witness told the Times. She said the heavily armed government troops attacked Monday morning then withdrew for unknown reasons.

Government forces also attacked the rebel-held city of Misurata, about 100 miles east of Tripoli, witnesses said.

Rebels have rejected any foreign invasion of the country but indicated they would welcome a no-fly zone, the Times reported. British and French diplomats said Monday they would seek U.N. authority for a no-fly zone, but Russia, which has veto power, has dismissed any military intervention.

Bomb plot suspect may argue entrapment

PORTLAND, Ore., March 8 (UPI) -- Defense attorneys for a Portland, Ore., bomb plot suspect intimated they would argue government agents entrapped their client, court papers indicated.

The attorneys, in papers filed Monday, requested the government reveal ways it trains agents and others to conduct covert operations, such as FBI operations that led to the arrest of Muslim men in other U.S. cities for bombing attempts, The Oregonian reported.

"Any materials that address or concern training or instruction of government agents, employees, contractors or volunteers regarding the issue of entrapment are especially relevant and should be disclosed," wrote lawyers representing Mohamed Mohamud, 20, charged with attempting to ignite a weapon of mass destruction at Portland's Nov. 26 holiday tree-lighting ceremony.

"The documents, materials and information sought by Mr. Mohamud are material to the preparation of his defense as serious questions exist about his vulnerability, predisposition and inducement," the defense team said in their request for evidence the prosecution has collected.

Mohamud's lawyers said the government provided recordings of conversations, draft transcripts and investigative reports, The Oregonian said.

However, government officials have yet to turn over material that "may be helpful in establishing the lack of predisposition to commit the charged crime," the court document said. What material has been reviewed, Mohamud's attorneys said, "reveals sophisticated efforts to direct the teenager's actions, the full extent of which the government has yet to disclose to the defense."

Gas station blast kills, injures dozens

FAISALABAD, Pakistan, March 8 (UPI) -- A car bomb explosion Tuesday at a natural gas station in Faisalabad in Pakistan's Punjab province killed and injured dozens of people, police said.

The BBC, quoting police, reported at least 20 people died and about 100 people were wounded, some seriously, in the blast that also triggered the explosion of several natural gas containers at the station.

Some local reports gave a higher death toll from the blast in the center of Faisalabad, Pakistan's third largest city.

The gas station, which served vehicles operating on natural gas, was destroyed. The blast also destroyed and damaged several vehicles and nearby buildings, police said.

A city official told reporters initial the investigation indicated an explosives-laden car had rammed a structure, setting off the explosion, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported. The report said police arrested a suspect at the scene.

The BBC quoted officials as saying a nearby office of Pakistan's spy agency might have been the target.

Van der Sloot admits to Peru slaying

LIMA, March 8 (UPI) -- The man accused of killing a woman in Peru last year and wanted in the disappearance of a U.S. student has admitted to the Peru slaying, his attorney said.

In exchange for admitting guilt in the death of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, his attorney asked the court to charge Joran Van der Sloot with a lesser offense, CNN reported Tuesday.

"In his statement to the police, Joran admitted that he committed the crime, but it was not in the way that the police said it happened," attorney Maximo Altez said. "We have submitted a motion to show that he shouldn't be charged with aggravated murder, but with violent emotion murder."

Violent emotion murder is the equivalent of manslaughter in the United States, CNN said. Van der Sloot could be sentenced to as long as five years in prison if convicted of the lesser charge, and 15 years if he were found guilty of the murder charge.

Altez said he made the motion last year, but a judge hasn't ruled on it.

Van der Sloot was charged with first-degree murder and robbery in the death of Flores, whose body was found in June in a Lima hotel room registered to the Dutch national.

He also is considered the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of U.S. teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba. Van der Sloot was arrested twice in that case but has not been charged.

Van der Sloot also faces federal wire fraud and extortion charges in the United States. Prosecutors say he tried to get more than $250,000 from Holloway's family in exchange for the location of her body.

Obama: U.S. education renaissance possible

BOSTON, March 8 (UPI) -- U.S. students can be the world's best if philanthropy, business, government and educators join hands, President Obama will say Tuesday, the White House said.

In remarks prepared for delivery during a visit to a pilot public high school in Boston specializing in technology and college preparation, the president will say success will require fundamental education reforms that will also need local community support.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will accompany Obama on the visit to the TechBoston Academy.

The school, founded in 2002 with Gates foundation support, offers students in grades 6-12 a college-preparatory curriculum. It has middle and high school campuses.

The president will visit the upper campus, which educates students in grades 10-12.

The school has numerous private-sector, non-profit and higher-education partners, including Apple Inc.; Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) ; Dell Inc.; Harvard University; Hewlett-Packard Co.; IBM (NYSE:IBM) Corp.; Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) ; Tufts University; the University of Massachusetts Boston; and Year Up, a high-tech job-training and internship program.

Obama chose TechBoston for the visit "because it blends technology into the classroom, offers rigorous academic programs and urges students to take courses at local colleges," the White House said.

TechBoston's first class graduated in 2006, with 92 percent of the graduating class going to college, compared with 63 percent of Boston public school graduates in general.

(Source: UPI )
(Source: Quotemedia)
 

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