World

Rescuers in Indonesia Wednesday found 12 survivors clinging to an offshore oil rig about 120 miles from where a ferry sank in a violent Java Sea storm more than four days earlier. Altogether, rescuers braving rough seas have found more than 200 people among approximately 600 thought to be on board. Meanwhile, Indonesian teams searching for a jetliner that disappeared Monday in similar weather were set to continue looking Wednesday for the Boeing 737 and the 102 on board in a 300-mile triangle of sea and land.

Two of Saddam Hussein's codefendants, who originally were scheduled to be executed with him last Saturday, will be hanged Thursday, an unnamed Iraqi official told the Associated Press. One of those facing the gallows is Barzan Ibrahim, Saddam's half brother and a former intelligence chief; the other is a former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court.

A prison review board on Wednesday released Tali Fahima, an Israeli paralegal, from a Tel Aviv jail 26 months into a three-year sentence because of good behavior. Fahima was sentenced in 2005 for acting as a human shield to protect a wanted Palestinian militant leader in the West Bank. In a plea agreement, Fahima admitted to contacting a "foreign agent" and passing information to the enemy.

In an effort to fight drug trafficking in a border city known for it, Mexican President Felipe Calderón vowed Tuesday to send 3,000 soldiers and federal police to Tijuana, where 300 killings, many drug-related, occurred last year.

Clashes erupted between forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas government in Gaza on Wednesday, killing four people in the worst bout of fighting since the rivals agreed to a fragile truce two weeks ago.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who meets with President Bush in Washington Thursday, told the Financial Times that the European Union and the US should more closely harmonize their financial market regulations, patent laws, and other economic mechanisms. "We must watch out that we do not drift apart," she said. Merkel took over the presidencies of the EU and the Group of Eight industrialized nations this week.

Now that Japan's royal family has averted an accession crisis with the Sept. 6 birth of Prince Hisahito, conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will ditch a government recommendation to allow a female to assume the throne, the daily Sankei Shimbun said Wednesday.

The ruling military council of Myanmar, also known as Burma, freed 2,831 prisoners Wednesday "whose moral behavior and spiritual values have improved and changed for the better," media and pro-democracy officials reported. The mass release precedes the 59th anniversary of Myanmar's independence from Britain.

Japan and Russia are exploring new possibilities for resolving a 60-year territorial dispute over a chain of four islands known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Kuril Islands in Russia, the daily Mainichi Shimbun said Wednesday. The countries are considering dividing the total area of the islands rather than claiming two apiece, the paper said.

Popular Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who began his second term this week, has called on using a "strong hand" to deal with drug gang violence that killed 19 people in Rio de Janeiro last week. The specifics of how he will respond are unknown, although the city wants federal troops to address the situation before tourists arrive for the samba parades.

Officials of the 900-year-old Tower of London said Tuesday that by late summer the fortress will have its first female beefeater, the colloquial term for the ceremonial guards.

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