World briefs — Feb. 18

CUBA

U.S. lawmakers visit

A delegation of American lawmakers led by Sen. Patrick Leahy arrived in Cuba on Monday to gauge the island’s economic changes and stress the importance of freeing a jailed American whose detention has chilled relations between the two countries. The trip, which included five senators, was the first to the Communist-run island by high-level U.S. politicians since President Barack Obama’s re-election in November. It comes a year after another group of legislators led by Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, came to Cuba and met with President Raul Castro.

BELGIUM

EU adds to sanctions

The European Union imposed trade and economic sanctions on North Korea while condemning “in the strongest terms” the nation’s latest nuclear test. The 27 EU finance ministers demanded North Korea abstain from further tests and urged it to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty without delay. The statement came as the ministers met Monday in Brussels.

THAILAND

U.K. cyclists killed

A British couple’s round-the-world cycling odyssey ended in tragedy when both of them were killed in a road accident in Thailand. Peter Root and Mary Thompson, who had been chronicling their journey in a blog, died Wednesday when they were hit by a pickup truck in a province east of Bangkok, Thai police said Monday. The couple, both 34 and from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, left Britain in July 2011 and had cycled through Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China.

RUSSIA

Lawmaker’s body found

The body of a missing city legislator and construction tycoon has been found in a private basement garage east of Moscow, inside a rusted metal barrel filled with cement, the police said Monday. Police said Mikhail Pakhomov, 36, had been tortured and killed over an outstanding $80 million loan. Pakhomov was a promising young star in United Russia, the ruling party founded by President Vladimir V. Putin.

Compiled from wire reports.


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