World briefs package

EGYPT

Protesters, police clash at Brotherhood offices

Thousands of Egyptian protesters clashed with riot police and backers of Presdident Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood on Friday, ransacking several offices nationwide as anger over allegations of beatings and power-grabbing boiled over into the largest and most violent demonstrations yet on the doorstep of the powerful group. As night fell, streets surrounding the Brotherhood headquarters were littered with shattered glass, charred vehicles, stones and gloves stained with blood. The number of injured reached nearly 100 from the two sides.

CUBA

Lawyers alarmed as hunger strike grows

Lawyers for prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay say they are growing increasingly alarmed about the men’s health as a hunger strike expands at the U.S. prison in Cuba. Attorney Carlos Warner met with a prisoner from Kuwait this week and said the man appears to have lost 25 pounds. Several other attorneys have reported similar accounts after meeting or speaking with prisoners in recent days. A prison spokesman said military doctors are closely monitoring the men’s weight and health.

RUSSIA

Moscow first stop for China’s president

China’s new president received a lavish welcome Friday as he made Moscow his first foreign destination, joining with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a pointed attempt to counter U.S. influence in Asia. Xi Jinping, who became president just last week, urged Russia to improve its foreign policy coordination to protect the two neighbors’ joint security interests — comments that appeared to seek Russia’s backing for his eagerness to reduce U.S. influence and challenge Japan over a set of disputed islands. Russian and Chinese officials later signed agreements on deliveries of Russian oil and gas to China.

BRAZIL

Criminal charges sought in nightclub fire

Police are seeking criminal charges against 16 people in connection with the nightclub fire that killed 241 people in southern Brazil Jan. 27. Inspector Marcelo Arigony said Friday that the mayor and fire chief of the city where the fire took place were also responsible for the tragedy because of the negligent safety inspections of the night club. Arigony said a band performing at the club lit a flare, which ignited flammable soundproofing foam on the ceiling. The cyanide, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide released by the ensuing fire “was what killed the people inside.”

BELGIUM

Man who killed two babies convicted

A 24-year-old Belgian man was convicted Friday and sentenced to life in prison for four murders, including the slashing deaths of two babies at a day care center in 2009. The jury in the case also determined that Kim De Gelder could be held fully accountable in the killings, despite concerns about his mental condition. The court said in a statement that the jurors found that there was “not the least bit of doubt” that De Gelder could be held accountable for his actions.

UNITED NATIONS

U.N. chief warns of growing water scarcity

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that by 2030 nearly half the world’s population could be facing a scarcity of water, with demand outstripping supply by 40 percent. Ban said one in three people already live in a country with moderate to high water stress. He spoke Friday at a U.N. event marking the opening of the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013 and the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of World Water Day.