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World

February 13, 2009



For the first time, Pakistan's government acknowledged that the terrorist siege of Mumbai last November was launched from its soil. Interior Minister Rehman Malik , also said the attack on the city formerly known as Bombay was plotted in Pakistan, at least in part. He said his government has arrested most of the main suspects identified by India and begun criminal proceedings against them. But Pakistan needs further evidence from India, he said.

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The rivals in Madagascar's power struggle have opened talks to try to resolve their differences and end the turmoil that has killed at least 100 people, diplomats said Thursday. President Marc Ravalomanana and opposition leader Andry Rajoelina held their first meeting Wednesday night following a rally by an estimated 40,000 Ravalomanana supporters despite torrential rains.

At least 49 people were hurt, some seriously, and hundreds of buildings were damaged when a powerful earthquake rocked eastern Indonesia Wednesday night, reports said. The quake, with a magnitude of 7.2, occurred at sea and brought a tsunami warning, although that later was canceled. Aftershocks were rattling the area Thursday.

Denial of the Holocaust "is intolerable and altogether unacceptable," Pope Benedict XVI told a delegation of Jewish leaders Thursday at the Vatican. The German-born pope's words were seen as a move to quell rancor after he lifted the excommunication last month of a Roman Catholic bishop who repeatedly has disputed that 6 million Jews died at the hands of Nazis, particularly in gas chambers. Benedict also confirmed that in May he'll make the second visit to Israel by a pope in nine years.

Stimulus legislation aimed at fending off Australia's first recession in 18 years was rejected by a one-vote margin in the Senate Wednesday night. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd quickly reintroduced the $27 million package of infrastructure spending and cash payments to low-income people in hopes of forcing a new vote Friday. The measure has passed the lower house of Parliament, where his Labor Party has a comfortable majority.

Deeply indebted mining giant Rio Tinto won a pledge of $19.5 billion in new investment from state-owned Aluminum Corp. of China, the largest overseas commitment of funds in Chinese history. The move helps Rio Tinto pay down some of its estimated $39 billion debt while giving resource-hungry China access to a steady supply of iron and copper ore at a time when commodities prices are low due to the global economic slump. Last November, Rio Tinto's debt caused rival BHP Billiton to withdraw its $68 billion takeover offer.

Ten thousand more job cuts added to Japan's growing unemployment ranks Thursday, as Pioneer Corp. said it expects to post its fifth straight annual net loss. The electronics company, which cut 5,900 jobs last year, said demand for its car audio systems has collapsed and that it is halting production of plasma display screens. Rivals Sony, Panasonic, NEC, and Hitachi all have cut their payrolls by at least 7,000 people in recent weeks.

Squadrons of riot police were en route Thursday from France to the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, where weeks of strikes have disrupted commerce, caused shortages of food and fuel, and closed hotels at the height of the vital winter vacation season. Union members on both islands are protesting low wages and the fast-rising cost of living, claiming that the government in Paris has ignored their plight. Unions in French Guyana and on the island of La RĂ©union have warned that they also may strike for the same reasons.

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