Nation/World Briefs

Safety board: Plane battery not overcharged

WASHINGTON – The battery that caught fire in a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 in Boston earlier this month was not overcharged, but government investigators said there still could be problems with wiring or other charging components.

An examination of the flight data recorder indicated that the battery didn’t exceed its designed voltage of 32 volts, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement.

Since the Jan. 7 incident, all 50 787s that Boeing has delivered to airlines’ fleets have been grounded, and the manufacturer has halted deliveries of new planes until it can address the electrical problems.

Merkel’s coalition loses German state vote

BERLIN – Germany’s center-left opposition won a wafer-thin victory over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition in a major state election Sunday, dealing a setback as she seeks a third term at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy later this year.

The opposition Social Democrats and Greens won a single-seat majority in the state legislature in Lower Saxony, ousting the coalition of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union and the pro-market Free Democrats that has run the northwestern region for 10 years. The same parties form the national government.

UN: Prisoners still tortured in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan – The United Nations said Sunday that Afghan authorities still are torturing prisoners, such as hanging them by their wrists and beating them with cables, a year after the U.N. first documented the abuse and the Afghan government promised detention reform.

The report shows little progress in curbing abuse in Afghan prisons despite a year of effort by the U.N. and international military forces in Afghanistan. The report also cites instances where Afghan authorities have tried to hide mistreatment from U.N. monitors.

Associated Press