CHINA

Beijing's air pollution deemed hazardous

Air pollution in Beijing reached hazardous levels on Saturday as smog engulfed large parts of China despite efforts to clean up the foul air.

At noon, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing reported the level of the poisonous PM2.5 at 391 micrograms per cubic meter. The World Health Organization considers the safe level at 25 micrograms per cubic meter of the particulates. The city has been shrouded in smog since Friday, with visibility just a few hundred yards.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has forecast severe pollution for the Beijing region, western Shandong province, and northern Henan province until Tuesday, when strong winds are expected to clear the air. It advised people to stay indoors. Authorities say coal burning for winter heating is a major culprit. - AP

NIGERIA

Boko Haram claim

The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for Friday's suicide bombing that killed at least 21 people and injured dozens of others near Kano, Nigeria's second-largest city. A message written in Arabic on a social media forum Saturday, claiming to be from Boko Haram, identified the bomber, who targeted a procession of hundreds of Shiites, as Abu Suleiman Al-Ansari, and said he died a martyr. - Bloomberg
MALDIVES

Protesters routed

Police dispersed opposition protesters for a second day Saturday, using tear gas and pepper spray and arresting more than a dozen. The Maldivian Democratic Party is demanding the release from jail of former President Mohamed Nasheed, ex-defense chief Mohamed Nazim, and opposition leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, as well as the end of court actions against 1,700 activists. - AP