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Pakistan: Suspect Arrested In Killing Of 7-Year-Old Zainab Ansari.

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Police in Lahore, Pakistan, have arrested a man for the rape and brutal murder of 7-year-old Zainab Ansari, officials said on Tuesday.

According to The Associated Press, the suspect was known to Ansari’s family.”

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif identified the suspect as 24-year-old Mohammed Imran, who confessed to killing Ansari and at least seven other children.

Sharif said at a news conference that a forensics lab had processed over 1,000 DNA samples linking Imran to a string of child slayings before making the arrest.

“The beast has confessed to have committed the past such crimes,” the official told reporters. “His DNA was matched 100 percent with samples collected from crime scenes.”

Ansari was reported missing in early January after leaving her aunt’s house to walk to a Quran class in Kasur, a city in the Pakistani province of Punjab on the border with India. Police recovered her body from a garbage dumpster several days later.

Her death sparked a string of  protests in Pakistan, because community members accused the police of not doing much to solve the incessant murders of children. Some schools were closed during the protests. Two people were killed by the police when they police tried to disperse protesters.

Her death also brought renewed attention to the abductions and rapes of seven other children in Kasur. Only one of the victims, a 6-year-old girl, was not killed, and all of them were found to have Imran’s DNA on them.

But Ansari’s father, Mohammed Amin Ansari, suggested it’s not enough to point the finger at one serial predator, saying police should have done more to warn the public.

There have been at least 20 cases of children abducted, raped and killed in the Kasur district in the last year, according to local lawyer and activist Waqas Abid. Pakistan’s Senate committee tasked with overseeing policing recently launched an inquiry into the sexual assaults in Kasur.

Pakistani fashion designer Maheen Khan, who has spoken openly about her own sexual abuse as a child, said she hoped Ansari’s death would effect a change in culture.

“What disturbs me the most is the silence when a little girl gets raped,” Khan told the AP. “It has to do with the honor of family. Parents tell their daughters: ‘Don’t talk about it. Don’t tell anyone.’ Our silence is saying it is all right to sexually molest a child.”

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Military patrols Ecuador’s capital as clashes resume and many defy curfew

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Armored military vehicles patrolled the streets of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, on Sunday after police and protesters clashed and many residents defied a curfew imposed by President Lenin Moreno in a bid to quell unrest triggered by fuel subsidy cuts.

Ecuadoreans posted videos on social media of burning road blockades and standoffs between crowds and security forces in downtown Quito ahead of the first round of talks aimed at ending 11 days of unrest.

The interior minister said a group of vandals had again set fire to the comptroller’s office and that some 500 people had defied police barriers in the city.

The unrest was the worst in the small South American country in more than a decade and the latest flashpoint of opposition to the International Monetary Fund in Latin America. Moreno has cast the dispute as a battle between Venezuela and other left-leaning forces and more market-friendly ideologies.

Nearly 60 roads in the city were closed, the municipal government said, without elaborating.

“Blocking roads is punishable by law and even more so during a curfew,” said councilman Bernardo Abad.

Indigenous protesters vowed to continue protests across the country until Moreno reinstates fuel subsidies, a sign that a potential breakthrough in the dispute announced on Saturday might fade under the government crackdown.

The first round of talks between indigenous leaders and the government was set to begin at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) in Quito, although no announcement had been made yet on who would take part or where exactly it would be held.

Moreno signed a $4.2 billion deal with the IMF earlier this year, angering many of his former supporters who voted for him as the left-leaning successor of his former ally, Rafael Correa.

Moreno has defended his decision last week to slash fuel subsidies as a key part of his bid to clean up the country’s finances, and denies it was required by the IMF.

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Algerians protest against proposed energy law

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Hundreds of Algerians protested in front of parliament on Sunday against proposed changes to the energy law that they say the caretaker government has no right to pass.

The draft law was agreed by the cabinet on Sunday, interim president Abdelkader Bensalah was quoted by state media as saying. It must still be approved by parliament.

Protesters said the law was draw up by the caretaker government to secure support of Western countries in a standoff over mass protests that have rocked Algeria for months. The government did not immediately comment.

“The draft will allow us to start deep reforms in the energy sector and implement a development plan for Sonatrach,” Bensalah said, referring to Algeria’s national energy company.

The law is aimed at attracting foreign investors to help Algeria strengthen its energy output and improve revenues using their superior technology, but would maintain a 49% limit on foreign ownership if passed into law by parliament.

Sonatrach has met several major international oil companies in recent months, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

“The current tax system does not allow Sonatrach to make new discoveries,” Mustapha Hanifi, the hydrocarbons director at the energy ministry, said at a conference on Sunday.

“We need to discover more oil and gas to ensure the country’s energy security and its revenues,” he added.

Algeria’s economy and state revenues are highly dependent on the energy sector, and foreign currency reserves have more than halved since oil prices began to drop in 2014.

The weekly mass protests since February have toppled veteran leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika and forced the authorities to detain many senior officials on corruption charges.

The army, which has emerged as the strongest power in Algeria since Bouteflika stepped down in April, hopes a presidential election panned for Dec. 12 will help quell the protests.

But demonstrators have said the vote cannot be free or fair if the military and senior officials tied to Bouteflika retain political power.

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