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Two more militant attacks unsettle Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya — Only days after heavily armed assailants stormed a crowded mall and killed scores of people in the capital, militants killed three people near the border with Somalia, Kenyan officials said Thursday, putting this country even further on edge.

According to Kenyan police officials, there were two attacks, the first Wednesday night on a group of police officers on a foot patrol in Wajir in which a bystander was killed. Militants struck again early Thursday, raiding a police camp in Mandera, killing two police officers and setting fire to a dozen vehicles.

The Kenyan authorities immediately blamed al-Shabab, the Somali militant group that has claimed responsibility for killing more than 60 shoppers in the mall.

Rono Bunei, the Mandera police commander, said the attack in Mandera was under investigation, “but obviously it leads to suggest that either the al-Shabab or their sympathizers are responsible.”

—Jeffrey Gettleman and Nicholas Kulish, The New York Times

European Union starts graft inquiry into tobacco regulator

BRUSSELS — European Union investigators said Thursday they had started a new investigation into the former senior official responsible for tobacco regulation, the latest turn in a high-profile case of alleged corruption.

The case focuses on John Dalli, a politician from Malta, who resigned last October from the European Commission as the official in charge of health and consumer protection after a preliminary inquiry into a Maltese businessman’s solicitation of a nearly $80 million kickback from the tobacco industry. Dalli has denied wrongdoing.

When allegations against Dalli last autumn reached José

Dalli has said he knew the alleged bribe-seeker, Silvio Zammit, from his earlier career in Maltese politics but he has denied that they were close or ever business partners.

—James Kanter, The New York Times

Court upholds 50-year jail term in Sierra Leone war crimes case

PARIS — An international panel of appeals judges unanimously upheld a 50-year jail sentence on Thursday against Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia, for war crimes and crimes against humanity in a case that had been cast as a watershed for modern human rights law.

In a lengthy summary, read out in a courtroom near The Hague, the judges ruled that Taylor’s sentencing had been “fair and reasonable,” rejecting the defense appeal for his immediate release and the prosecution’s request for his jail term to be extended to 80 years. Dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and pale gold tie, Taylor sat impassively through the 90-minute hearing.

Taylor was found guilty in April 2012 on all counts of an 11-count indictment alleging war crimes and crimes against humanity relating to his role in aiding murderous rebels who committed atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war in the 1990s.

He was accused of fomenting widespread brutality that included murder, rape, the use of child soldiers, the mutilation of thousands of civilians and the mining of diamonds to pay for guns and ammunition.

In May 2012 he was sentenced to 50 years in prison — the first former head of state convicted by an international tribunal since the Nuremberg trials in Germany after World War II.

—Marlise Simons and Alan Cowell, The New York Times