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Venezuelan Major League Baseball Player Kidnapped

Venezuelan national and U.S. Major League Baseball player Wilson Ramos has been kidnapped from a home in Venezuela, where he was playing for a local team during the offseason.

Ramos had been visiting with family at a private home in the city of Valencia on Wednesday when several men broke in, snatched him and took him away in a van or an SUV.

During the Major League Baseball season, the 24-year-old catcher plays for the Washington Nationals. He was in Venezuela to play with his winter league team, the Aragua Tigers.

Egypt Gas Pipeline to Jordan, Israel Hit by 2 Blasts

Egyptian security officials say a pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan was hit by two explosions early Thursday -- the sixth such attack this year.

The officials say the first blast occurred near the northern Sinai town of al-Arish. A second explosion took place near a pumping station in the same sector.

Witnesses said they had seen armed men at the scene of the first blast and that flames could be seen from the town.

The pipeline has been a frequent target for attacks by unidentified men since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Indian Court Convicts 31 Hindus for Muslim Killings

A court in India has convicted 31 Hindus and sentenced them to life in prison for killing dozens of Muslims nearly a decade ago, in one of the country's worst outbreaks of sectarian violence.

A judge handed down the guilty verdicts Wednesday, while acquitting 41 other people.

Rights activists said this is the first time in decades so many people in India have been convicted in a case of sectarian violence. They added that those freed in similar cases should be interrogated and convicted as soon as possible.

Kenya's Campaign Against Al-Shabab

Kenya sent troops into Somalia last month in pursuit of al-Shabab, which it blames for a series of cross-border kidnappings. Since then, Kenya has faced the threat (and reality) of retaliation, confusion has emerged over which countries are supporting the military operation, and Eritrea has come under suspicion of arming al-Shabab. Most recently, Kenya said it is moving in on key militant areas in Somalia.

VOA's East Africa correspondent Gabe Joselow answered questions about Kenya's pursuit of al-Shabab in a live Q&A Wednesday.

UN Fears Post-Election Violence in DRC

The United Nations says the continued repression of fundamental freedoms in the lead-up to the Democratic Republic of the Congo's upcoming election is endangering the country's democratic process and could lead to post-election violence.

The U.N. Joint Human Rights Office released a report Wednesday documenting nearly 200 cases of human rights violations apparently linked to the electoral process, between November 2010 and September 2011.

Gunmen Kill 4 in Suspected Sectarian Attack in Pakistan

Gunmen shot and killed four people, including at least three Hindu doctors, in a remote region of southern Pakistan Monday in what officials fear could be an incident of sectarian violence.

Authorities said Tuesday that the attack occurred at a clinic in Chak town some 400 kilometers north of Karachi, the capital of Sindh province.

Suspected Militants Blow Up Another Pakistani School

Suspected militants have destroyed another girls school in northwestern Pakistan.

Officials say assailants blew up the school in the Mardan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa late Monday.

Provincial Education Minister Sardar Hussain Babak told VOA last month that some 1,200 schools have been destroyed in Pakistan's northwestern region in the last few years.

The Taliban is active in parts of the region and frequently targets schools as part of its ban on girls' education.

Article by VOA News

Kenyan Military Targeting al-Shabab Finances

The Kenyan military says it is trying to incapacitate the militant Islamist group al-Shabab by targeting its financial and logistical operations in Somalia.

Kenyan military officials say they are closing in on key al-Shabab targets, four weeks into military operations in Somalia.

Kenyan Army spokesman, Emmanuel Chirchir, says one of the most important objectives of ‘Operation Linda Nchi’ is to take the southern Somali town of Afmadow.

Nigerian Security Hunts Attackers Who Killed More Than 100

Nigerian security forces are searching for attackers who killed more than 100 people in a series of bombings and shootings across northern states this past week.

The coordinated attacks on police stations, churches, and an army base in small towns across northern Nigeria are being blamed on the Islamic sect Boko Haram. The sect claimed responsibility for the August bombing of the U.N. headquarters in the capital Abuja.