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A "suspected American" drone fired a missile that killed at least eight people in a Pakistani tribal region, intelligence officials claimed Wednesday. A US military spokesman in neighboring Afghanistan said he was "not aware" of such an incident. Such strikes have raised tensions between the two allies in the counterterrorism effort, and on Monday the Bush administration said it respects Pakistan's territorial integrity.

A new standoff arose over the formation of a power-sharing government in Zimbabwe, and ex-South African President Thabo Mbeki was being asked to resume his role as mediator in the dispute. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accused President Robert Mugabe of demanding all the key posts in a reconfigured cabinet for his allies. Their deal calls for Mugabe to remain as chief executive, with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister.

Commandos from Russian warships have boarded the freighter seized by pirates off Somalia, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported Wednesday. It cited an unidentified senior naval official as its source. The hijacked ship is carrying Russian-built tanks and ammunition, and the pirates have demanded a $20 million ransom. The report came within hours after Somalia's interim government said "permission to use force [against the pirates] was given."

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More than 200 would-be immigrants were rescued by a Spanish Coast Guard unit after four days at sea in an open fishing boat, reports said Wednesday. They were believed to have left Mauritania and were trying to reach the Canary Islands. The discovery is thought to be the largest of its kind yet, although thousands of Africans attempt the same journey each year in search of jobs in Europe.

The biggest crackdown against child pornography in Spain's history has netted 121 suspects, among them minors, police said Wednesday. Others arrested in a nationwide sweep include airline pilots, bank employees, salespeople, and taxi drivers, some of whom used their own children as objects, the police said. Also seized: millions of video and photo files that were in distribution via the Internet to 75 other countries.

A new strike by farmers against Argentina's government will begin Friday, organizers announced. Unlike a series of strikes last summer, however, there will be no blockade of highways, they said. The protest was called because "two months of negotiations" with President Cristina Fernandez's government have produced no breakthroughs on the farmers' demand for lower taxes on the export of their commodities.

Cash payments sent back home by Mexicans working in the US declined last month by 12 percent – the largest drop since record-keeping began, the Bank of Mexico reported. It said remittances are likely to continue to decline because of "the difficult problems" the US economy is experiencing and stepped-up deportations and other enforcement of immigration measures. Many Mexican towns and villages depend heavily on the stipends.

Three more gold miners were reported in stable condition after surviving for more than a week without food in a flooded shaft in the northern Philippines. Their rescue Wednesday came 24 hours after six other survivors were brought to the surface. Five miners remain missing, authorities said.

Police in Osaka, Japan, said a suspect in their custody admitted setting a fire that destroyed an all-night theater offering pornographic videos and killed 15 patrons. Ten others were hurt. The theater reportedly was popular with businessmen needing an inexpensive place to go after missing the last train home.

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