Gov't: Homicide rate fell after gun control

BRASILIA - A new study suggests the number of homicides in Brazil has fallen since the passage of a law restricting gun ownership.

The study by the government's Institute of Applied Economic Research says the homicide rate fell to 20 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010 from 22 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2003, when the law was passed.

In 1980, Brazilians possessed an average of 10 firearms per 100,000 inhabitants. Widespread fears that the police weren't properly protecting the public helped push the country's gun ownership rate up to 17.5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2003. The study says that number has stabilized since the passage of the Disarmament Statute.

Tourists kidnapped; 1 sexually assaulted

RIO DE JANEIRO - Two foreign tourists were held for hours and brutalized, and one of them was sexually assaulted aboard a public transport van they boarded in Rio de Janeiro's showcase Copacabana beach neighborhood, police said.

Two men ages 20 and 22 have been taken into custody and a third is being sought in connection with the incident, in which the two foreigners were held for around six hours starting shortly after midnight on Saturday, police said.

The statement said the suspects forced other passengers to get out of the van and then sexually assaulted the female tourist inside the vehicle, which was one of a fleet of vans that serve bus routes and seat about a dozen people. During the assault, the tourists were driven to the poor suburban neighborhood of Sao Goncalo, where the two suspects were apprehended, the statement said.


Iranian tourists showcase warming ties

LUXOR - More than 50 Iranian tourists arrived by boat to the ancient city of Luxor on Monday as part of a rare visit that showcases how much ties between the two countries have warmed since Islamist President Mohammed Morsi came to power last year.

Diplomatic relations were frozen for decades after Egypt signed the 1979 peace treaty with Israel and Iran went through the Islamic Revolution. But Morsi has been reaching out to Tehran since he came to power in June.

Morsi broke barriers by visiting Tehran after his June election, marking the first visit by an Egyptian leader in more than three decades. Later, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Cairo to attend a conference of Islamic nations.

There is a new bilateral deal to promote tourism and improve relations between the regional heavyweights. And the group of Iranian tourists arrived on some of the first commercial flights between the two countries in 30 years.


13 orphans living in mosque die in fire

YANGON - A fire engulfed a mosque housing orphans in Myanmar's largest city Tuesday morning, killing at least 13 children in the blaze that police blamed on an electrical short.

Riot police were deployed nearby as some Muslims gathering outside the charred building feared the fire was linked to sectarian violence that has shaken the nation.

Police officer Thet Lwin said the fire was triggered by an overheated inverter "and not due to any criminal activity."

Thet Lwin said about 75 orphans lived there and most escaped safely by running out of a door police knocked open.


Woman makes history with run

KHAR - A 40-year-old Pakistani housewife has made history by becoming the first woman to run for parliament from the country's deeply conservative tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Badam Zari is pushing back against patriarchal traditions and braving potential attack by Islamist militants in the hope of forcing the government to focus more on helping Pakistani women.

The Associated Press