Peru President defends Fujimori pardon
LIMA • Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has defended his pardon of his predecessor Alberto Fujimori as justified clemency for an ailing man whose authoritarian government in the 1990s helped the country progress, after a second day of protest by Peruvians.
Urging Peruvians to "turn the page" , Mr Kuczynski on Monday appealed to Peruvians to accept his Christmas Eve pardon of the former president.
Mr Fujimori, 79, has served about half of a 25-year prison term for graft and human rights crimes. He is seen by many as a corrupt dictator, but also credited for ending an economic crisis and quashing a leftist rebellion during his decade in power.
39 hurt in Cuba fireworks blast
HAVANA • A fireworks explosion injured 39 people, including six children between the ages of 11 and 15, during a popular Cuban carnival on Christmas Eve, state-run media reported on Monday.
The centuries-old Parrandas festival in the central town of Remedios draws thousands yearly.
The health authorities said some of the victims were in "critical and very critical condition". The cause of the explosion was under investigation.
Queen pays tribute to London, Manchester
SANDRINGHAM • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II praised the resilience of London and Manchester after "appalling attacks", in her annual televised Christmas message.
The "powerful identities" of the capital and the northern English city had shone through after militant attacks, as well as a devastating fire that destroyed the residential tower block Grenfell Tower in London, the Queen said.
The 91-year-old monarch said it had been a privilege to visit the victims of the bomb attack, which took place at a pop concert in Manchester, as she was able to witness the bravery and resilience of survivors first-hand.