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WORLD: Iran shows confession prior to stoning

Iran shows confession prior to stoning

TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery confessed to helping a man kill her husband and re-enacted the alleged crime in an interview broadcast Friday by Iranian state television — an apparent effort by the government to deflect international criticism over the case.

It was the fourth time Sakineh Mohammedi Ashtiani has been shown on TV as Tehran has faced an international outcry over the announcement that she would be stoned to death, the latest source of friction between Iran and the West.

Authorities announced her conviction in the murder case only after the uproar over the stoning sentence erupted last summer, and her lawyer — who has since been arrested — said she was never formally put on trial for the killing and was tortured into confessing. Iranian authorities could use the murder charge to justify executing Ashtiani by hanging instead of stoning.

Mexico: Cartel chief killed

MEXICO CITY — The eccentric leader of the brutal La Familia drug cartel is believed to have been killed in a shootout during two days of fighting between federal police and gunmen that terrified civilians across a western Mexican state, the government said Friday.

The death of Nazario Moreno Gonzalez — nicknamed ‘‘The Craziest One’’ — would be a major blow to a drug cartel that burst into national prominence four years ago by rolling severed heads into a nightclub and declaring that its mission was to protect Michoacan state from rival gangs and petty criminals.

Bleak report on Afghan war

WASHINGTON — New U.S. intelligence assessments say the war in Afghanistan cannot be won unless Pakistan roots out militants on its side of the border, which it’s still unwilling to do.

That’s according to U.S. officials who’ve been briefed on the reports.

But U.S. military commanders caution that the gloomy National Intelligence Estimates for Afghanistan and Pakistan are based on outdated information that does not take into account progress from an increase in security and a crackdown on militants this fall.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the classified documents.