ISRAEL: Jail death to be probed

Lawmakers announced plans Sunday to investigate the 2010 jailhouse death of a reported Australian immigrant recruit to the Mossad spy agency. The announcement followed calls by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting to dim a growing media spotlight on the affair he saw as at risk of jeopardizing national security. The case, kept under wraps for two years then publicized by Australian television, involves Ben Zygier, 34, said to be a Mossad operative held on suspicion of security offenses, who died in what has been called an apparent suicide. Meanwhile, the former foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and breach of trust at the start of a trial that has put the ultranationalist's political career into doubt.


CUBA: Dissidents start travels

Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez set off on a three-month world tour Sunday, after a new law eliminated the exit permit that had been required of Cubans for five decades and was denied her about 20 times. At Havana's international airport, she showed reporters her brand new passport with a fresh U.S. double-entry visa, valid for six months. "My name has not been called over the loudspeakers, they have not taken me to a room to strip me or give me a warning," she tweeted from the waiting lounge. Also granted passports were the leader of the Ladies in White protest group, Eliecer Avila, who went to Sweden, and Rosa Maria Paya, daughter of the late dissident Oswaldo Paya, who flew Saturday to Spain.

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CYPRUS: Runoff in presidential vote

Political leaders begin a week of bargaining Monday after the first round of a presidential election failed to produce an outright winner. Conservative leader Nicos Anastasiades, who backs a swift deal with EU and IMF lenders on a bailout to avert bankruptcy in the Mediterranean island nation, won Sunday's vote but fell short of the absolute majority needed to avoid a Feb. 24 runoff. His opponent will be Communist-backed Stavros Malas.