Pakistan’s former premier and his wife plead not guilty in another corruption case

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Officials say Pakistan’s imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife pleaded have not guilty in a graft case alleging they accepted a gift of land from a real estate tycoon in exchange for large sums of laundered money. The case is the second to indict Khan and his wife over acts of corruption allegedly committed while the former cricket star turned Islamist politician was in office. Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament in April 2022. He insists all the charges against him are a plot by rivals to keep him from returning to office.

Newborns in Japan are at a new low, while fewer couples marry

TOKYO (AP) — The government in Japan says that the number of babies born in the country last year fell for an eighth straight year to a new low. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi says it is critical for the country to reverse the trend in the coming half-dozen years. The 631,758 babies born in Japan in 2023 were a 5.1% decline from the previous year. It was the lowest number of births since Japan started compiling the statistics in 1899. The government has put forward a package of steps that include more support and subsidies for families with children, but experts say measures should address young people’s concerns about bleak job prospects and other future uncertainty.

Nigeria’s union workers launch a nationwide strike over high inflation

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s government employees and other union workers have begun a new nationwide strike that threatens to shut down key services while people are angry about soaring inflation and growing economic pain. Since taking office last year, President Bola Tinubu has enacted policies that include doing away with fuel subsidies and unifying the country’s multiple exchange rates. That led to a devaluation of the naira against the dollar. Gasoline prices have more than doubled and inflation reached close to 30% last month.

Dutch court convicts 17 members of criminal gang and sentences 3 to life

AMSTERDAM (AP) — A Dutch court has convicted 17 suspects in the long-running trial of an underworld gang that planned a string of killings. Judges on Tuesday handed life sentences to three of them, including the country’s formerly most-wanted fugitive Ridouan Taghi. The trial and three more murders linked to the case have enthralled and rattled the Netherlands, exposing the deadly reality of the country’s drug-fueled underworld. Taghi and several co-defendants did not attend the final day of their trial. The verdicts were read out at a tightly guarded courthouse on the outskirts of the Dutch capital.


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