World

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A Syrian general known for his fight against ISIS — and accused in the death of veteran American war correspondent Marie Colvin, who died in shelling in 2012 — is reported to have died Wednesday on the battlefield in Syria's northeastern province of Deir Ezzor.

Brig. Gen. Issam Zahreddine, 56, one of Syrian President Bashar Assad's best-known field commanders, died after the vehicle he was traveling in hit a land mine close to a front line where he was fighting ISIS, according to media outlets closely aligned with the Syrian regime.

Federal prosecutors in Brazil are charging former Brazilian Olympic Committee President Carlos Nuzman with helping to run a criminal organization and other crimes, in a scheme that paid for the votes that brought the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro last summer. The evidence includes undeclared assets in the form of 16 gold bars.

Nuzman was arrested on Oct. 5, prompting him to resign as president of Brazil's national Olympic committee. Prosecutors announced charges against him that range from corruption and money laundering to evading foreign currency laws.

The bare, plaster walls of Yu Zu'en's new government-issued apartment are adorned with three decorations: an old photo from his years as a soldier, a shelf for his harmonica, and a poster featuring the busts of every Chinese Communist Party secretary since Chairman Mao. He points to the newest one and smiles.

"I wouldn't be here without Xi Jinping," he says. "Under his wise leadership, we're now taken care of. Before, we barely survived. Our village was up in the mountains. Corn didn't grow well, no roads. Then the leaders mobilized us and the entire village moved here."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

An anti-corruption court in Pakistan has indicted ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law, in connection with leaks last year that appeared to show his family owned offshore shell companies they used for the secret purchase of high-value London real estate.

The Associated Press says "a lawyer for Sharif, who is currently in London, where his wife is receiving medical treatment, entered a plea of not guilty. The former prime minister's daughter, Maryam Sharif, and her husband, Mohammad Safdar, attended the hearing and also pleaded not guilty."

Quebec has approved a law that would require citizens of the Canadian province to uncover their faces while giving or receiving any public service — a rule critics say is aimed at Muslim women who wear the niqab or burqa.

Updated at 5:15 a.m. ET

Spain was preparing to impose direct rule over semi-autonomous Catalonia after the region's leader Carles Puigdemont declined to categorically renounce an independence referendum, the prime minister's office announced Thursday.

Spain's government said it would hold a special Cabinet meeting and "approve the measures that will be sent to the Senate to protect the general interest of all Spaniards."

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