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WORLD IN BRIEF: Argentine ex-dictator gets life in prison

Argentine ex-dictator gets life in prison

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Former dictator Jorge Videla was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the torture and murder of 31 prisoners in 1976, the first conviction for the military junta leader in 25 years of democracy.

The ruling thrilled victims’ relatives who packed the courtroom, applauding and shouting ‘‘murderers’’ at Videla and other defendants when the verdicts were read.

Videla, who led the military coup that installed Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship, is considered the architect of a dirty war that eliminated thousands of people in a crackdown on armed leftist guerrillas and their supporters.

Wintry weather is latest woe for Heathrow Airport

LONDON — Managers at Heathrow Airport boasted last month that their snow team was working flat out to ensure the facility ‘‘will once again be prepared for the onset of winter.’’

Then a few inches of snow fell, and Europe’s busiest airport shut down. People slept on floors under foil blankets, or were turned away outside terminals, Christmas travel plans in ruins.

Flights were returning to normal Wednesday, but the fallout continued, with Heathrow boss Colin Matthews renouncing his annual bonus as a gesture of contrition.

With passengers still deeply angry and politicians echoing their complaints, the most enduring damage from the snowstorm may be to the reputation of an airport that was already overcrowded, unloved and in need of an upgrade.

S. Korea holds new drills after North attack

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea vowed Wednesday to ‘‘completely punish’’ North Korea if it attacks again, and mobilized hundreds of troops, tanks and helicopters for a massive military exercise prompted by high tensions on the peninsula.

The firing drills planned for Thursday near the Koreas’ heavily armed land border signaled that South Korea is willing to risk further escalating tensions with North Korea, which shelled a southern island off the western coast on Nov. 23 and stirred up a war-like atmosphere.

The attack, which killed four people, was portrayed by Pyongyang as a retaliation for southern military exercises on Yeonpyeong island that day.

— From wire reports