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WORLD IN BRIEF: Commander sentenced to life for murders

Commander sentenced to life for murders

BELLEVILLE, Ontario — The former commander of Canada’s largest air force base said Thursday he deeply regretted his ‘‘despicable crimes,’’ moments before he was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years for murdering two women.

Col. Russell Williams pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two sexual assaults and 82 counts of breaking-and-entering, during which he took hundreds of undergarments from women and young girls.

Ontario judge Robert F. Scott sentenced Williams after the disgraced former elite pilot tearfully addressed the court, lamenting his crimes and the pain he has caused the victims and their family and friends.

Justice Robert Scott said he believes Williams is sincere in his regrets, but nonetheless declared him a ‘‘sick and dangerous’’ man.

‘‘Russell Williams will forever be remembered as a sadosexual serial killer,’’ Scott told the court. ‘‘The depths of the depravity shown by Russell Williams have no equal.’’

Disease outbreak in Haiti kills 54

ST. MARC, Haiti — An outbreak of severe diarrhea in rural central Haiti has killed at least 54 people and sickened hundreds more who overwhelmed a crowded hospital Thursday seeking treatment.

Hundreds of patients lay on blankets in a parking lot outside St. Nicholas hospital in the port city of St. Marc with IVs in their arms for rehydration. As rain began to fall in the afternoon, nurses rushed to carry them inside.

Doctors were testing for cholera, typhoid and other illnesses in the Caribbean nation’s deadliest outbreak since a January earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people.

US influence dwindling in Iraqi politics

BAGHDAD — American influence has so dwindled in Iraq over the last several months that Iraqi lawmakers and political leaders say they no longer follow Washington’s advice for forming a government.

Instead, Iraqis are turning to neighboring nations, and especially Iran, for guidance — casting doubt on the future of the American role in this strategic country after a grinding war that killed more than 4,400 U.S. troops.