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News Digest: Prosecutor probing 1994 outrage is killed

By Staff Reporters

A special prosecutor who had accused Argentine president Cristina Fernandez of shielding Iranian suspects in the South American country's worst terrorist attack has been found shot dead, authorities said, a development that drew outrage from Jewish leaders.

Alberto Nisman, who was set to testify in a congressional hearing about the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre that killed 85 people, was found dead in the bathroom of his Buenos Aires apartment late yesterday, federal prosecutor Viviana Fein said.

"We can confirm that it was a gunshot wound, .22 calibre," she said.

Mr Nisman was appointed 10 years ago by Ms Fernandez's late husband, then-president Nestor Kirchner, to investigate the 1994 bombing.

Rebels seize control of State media

Rebel Shiite Houthis battled soldiers near Yemen's presidential palace and elsewhere across the capital, seizing control of the country's State-run media in a move an official called "a step toward a coup".

The fighting near the palace marks the biggest challenge yet to the government of president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi by the Houthis, who seized the capital, Sanaa, during their advance in September across parts of Yemen. Many believe deposed president Ali Abdullah Saleh, ousted in a deal after Arab Spring protests, has orchestrated their military campaign.

The battles saw the convoys of Yemen's prime minister and a top presidential advisor affiliated with the Houthis come under fire, as well as Houthi fighters take over Yemen state television and its official SABA news agency, information minister Nadia Sakkaf said.

Hostages freed following gunfight

Around 30 hostages abducted in Cameroon over the weekend by members of the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram have been released, Cameroon's military has said.

Military spokesman Colonel Didier Badjeck said some of the more than 60 hostages taken had escaped, while others were freed after a gun fight between Boko Haram and the military.

The extremists used some of the hostages as human shields, he said, adding that he did not know how many people were killed in the battles.

Boko Haram attacked Mabass village, in the Far North region of Cameroon, early yesterday and staged its largest kidnapping yet in the country, according to the government.

Information minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said that 80 houses were destroyed in the attack and between 30 and 50 people were believed to have been abducted.

10 die as churches torched by Islamist protesters

The Niger government says at least 45 churches have been set on fire in the predominantly Muslim West African nation in protests over French cartoons lampooning Islam's prophet. The government also declared three days of national mourning for the 10 people who died amid the violent protests that began on Friday. Authorities have said that the victims were inside churches and bars set ablaze by protesters angry about the portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed in the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

'Nuts tantrum' airline boss in court on safety charge

Seoul: The former Korean Air executive famous for an in-flight tantrum over macadamia nuts has pleaded not guilty to violating aviation safety law and hindering a government investigation. Lawyers for Cho Hyun-ah did not dispute the major elements of the prosecutor's account of events on December 5 when Cho's behaviour resulted in a Korean Air jet returning to the gate. Cho spent most of the first day of her trial with her head lowered and hair covering her face. She declined to make any comment when invited to by a judge.

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