World in Brief

Moldova: Pro-Russia presidential candidate declares victory

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — A pro-Russia candidate has declared victory in Moldova’s presidential election, opening up a commanding lead in the former Soviet republic with nearly all the votes tallied.

Igor Dodon, who has promised to restore closer ties with Moscow and made comments in Russian immediately after the polls closed Sunday , had just over 54 percent of the votes, with more than 98 percent of the ballots tallied. His rival Maia Sandu, an ex-World Bank official who ran on an anti-corruption platform, had nearly 46 percent.

“Everyone understands that I have won,” he said later in Romanian just after midnight. He thanked Sandu for waging a “tough but good fight” and said he would be a president for all Moldovans.

Dodon tapped into popular anger over corruption under the pro-European government that came to power in 2009, particularly over the approximately $1 billion that went missing from Moldovan banks before the 2014 parliamentary elections.

As results came in, Dodon urged Moldovans to be calm.

“We don’t need destabilization and we don’t need confrontation, which somebody is trying to do,” he said, speaking in Russian after polls closed. “We’re all living in one country, in Moldova. The next president should find this balance.”

Dodon has pledged to restore trade and political relations with Moscow which cooled after Moldova signed a trade association agreement with the European Union. Russia punished Moldova by placing an embargo on imports of Moldovan fruit, wine and vegetables. He was able to appeal to many older Moldovans who are nostalgic for the former Soviet Union.

Protesters demand climate justice at UN talk

MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — Several thousand activists have marched in the Moroccan city of Marrakech to demand environmental justice, just a few miles away from where high-level U.N. climate change talks are being held.

Native Americans protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline demonstrated Sunday alongside local indigenous Amazigh groups protesting against a Moroccan company’s expropriation of water resources, in addition to dozens of international civil society groups.

The protest for fairer climate deals took on greater importance after the election of Donald Trump, who has called global warming a hoax and promised to “cancel” last year’s landmark Paris Agreement, under which nation pledged to limit emissions to slow climate change.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and French President Francois Hollande are expected in Marrakech today.

Priest abducted in Mexico found alive, tortured

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A priest who was abducted in Mexico has been found alive after three days, but “with notable signs of torture,” the Roman Catholic Church said Sunday.

The Rev. Jose Luis Sanchez Ruiz was the third priest abducted in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz since September. The other two were found shot to death a few days after they were kidnapped.

Although Sanchez Ruiz was spared that fate, his abduction brought new attention to attacks on priests in Mexico, which also saw another priest killed in the western state of Michoacan in September.

Prosecutors have suggested that robbery may have been the motive in all three killings this year. But fellow priests suggested something else may have been involved in Sanchez Ruiz’s kidnapping. Bishop Fidencio Lopez said Sunday that Sanchez Ruiz “had been dumped, with notable signs of torture” at an undisclosed location.

His disappearance sparked two days of unrest in the town of Catemaco, which is known for its faith healers and exuberant jungle. Angry residents burned part of the town hall and a police patrol truck while demanding the release of the priest.

Colombia tries again for peace with new accord

HAVANA (AP) — Colombia tried a second time to achieve peace, with its government and largest rebel group signing a revised deal to end its brutal conflict following the surprise rejection of an earlier peace accord by voters in a referendum.

Government negotiator Humberto de la Calle and rebel negotiator Ivan Marquez announced the new, modified deal Saturday in Havana, moving to end a half-century-long conflict that has claimed more than 220,000 lives and driven almost 8 million people from their homes.

The latest agreement aims to address some of the concerns of opponents of the original accord, who said the deal was too lenient on a rebel group that had kidnapped and committed war crimes.

“The new deal is an opportunity to clear up doubts, but above all to unite us,” said De la Calle, who described the text of the modified accord as “much better” than the previous one. The negotiator didn’t say if or how it would be submitted again to voters for approval or to congress.

President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia inked an initial peace deal on Sept. 26 amid international fanfare after more than four years of negotiations. But voters rejected it on Oct. 2 by just 55,000 votes, dealing a stunning setback to Santos who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end Colombia’s conflict.

Explosion at Indonesia church injures 4 children

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An explosion outside a church on Borneo island injured four children on Sunday, Indonesian police said.

Several motorbikes were also damaged in the explosion in the parking lot of the Oikumene Church in Samarinda, the provincial capital of East Kalimantan province, said national police spokesman Maj. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar.

The children, aged 2 to 4 years old, were burned.

Media reports cited local police spokesman Lt. Col. Fajar Setiawan as saying the explosion came from a Molotov cocktail thrown by a man riding on a motorbike.

The man jumped into a nearby river but was captured by locals and handed over to police. TV footage showed the injured man lying on the deck of a motorboat. He was wearing a black shirt with the words “Jihad, Way of Life.”

Amar identified the man as a 32-year-old former terror convict from the West Java town of Bogor who was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison over a 2011 terror attack and was released in July 2014. He moved to East Kalimantan about a year ago.

It was the second explosion at a church in Indonesia this year. In August, a would-be suicide bomber failed to detonate a bomb during a Sunday Mass in a church in Medan, the provincial capital of North Sumatra in western Indonesia, but he managed to injure a priest with an axe before being restrained.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has carried out a sustained crackdown on militant networks since the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

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