World news briefs — compiled Jan. 25

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CHINA

Activist gets 4 years

A Beijing court today sentenced a legal scholar and founder of a social movement to four years in jail for disrupting order in public places, in a case that the U.S. government and other critics say is retribution against his push to fight corruption and create equal educational opportunities. Amid tight security, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court handed down the verdict against Xu Zhiyong, founder of the loosely knit New Citizens movement. Hundreds of police officers were stationed around the courthouse. They pushed away journalists and took away Xu’s lawyer when he attempted to speak to the media. Xu’s prosecution is part of a broader crackdown since last spring on dissent, including the silencing and detentions of influential bloggers and advocates for minority rights in Tibetan and Muslim Uighur areas.

FRANCE

President, partner split

French President Francois Hollande on Saturday ended weeks of speculation about his personal life, announcing that he and his partner Valerie Trierweiler were splitting after many years together. Hollande, 59, was “at the end of his joint life with Valerie Trierweiler,” the Agence France Presse news agency quoted the French head of state as saying. Trierweiler, 48, was discharged from a Paris hospital a week ago, after spending eight days in treatment for depression over revelations of Hollande’s alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet. She put the best face on Saturday’s announcement, however, tweeting a dignified farewell to the staff at the Elysee Palace after spending years at the side of Hollande as the unofficial first lady.

PUERTO RICO

281 become ill on ship

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 281 passengers have fallen ill aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The CDC said in a statement Friday that another 22 crew members also are ill, with people reporting vomiting and diarrhea. Authorities said it’s not yet clear what is causing the illness. The CDC said health officials will board the ship today while it’s docked in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Authorities said specimens are being collected and will be tested. A total of 3,050 passengers and 1,165 crew members are aboard the Explorer of the Seas.

Compiled from wire reports.


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