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World News: Syria, Israel, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, N Korea Updates; Global Concerns on Economy and Education for Girls; Crete Earthquake; South American news

By: ap
By: ap
People walk in the rain outside International Monetary Fund (IMF) building in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, as the meetings of the IMF and World Bank started. In the run-up to meetings of the IMF, World Bank and the Group of 20 major economies, global financial leaders have been sounding loud warnings about the possibility of a US debt default as well as potential damage from the partial government shutdown if it continues. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

People walk in the rain outside International Monetary Fund (IMF) building in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, as the meetings of the IMF and World Bank started. In the run-up to meetings of the IMF, World Bank and the Group of 20 major economies, global financial leaders have been sounding loud warnings about the possibility of a US debt default as well as potential damage from the partial government shutdown if it continues. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

GLOBAL ECONOMY
WASHINGTON (AP) -- World finance officials have pledged to deal with new risks to the global recovery while keeping up pressure on the United States to address a market-rattling default on U.S. debt.
The International Monetary Fund's policy committee says the U.S. needs to take "urgent action" to address the budget impasse that has blocked approval of legislation to increase the government's borrowing limit before a fast-approaching Thursday deadline.
Global finance officials nervously monitored talks between Democrats and Republicans as the IMF and World Bank met over the weekend in Washington.

BEIRUT (AP) -- The leader of al-Qaida has urged jihadis in Syria to unite, an appeal likely aimed at rival affiliates of his terror network fighting there to oust President Bashar Assad.
Ayman al-Zawahri says fighters must "rise above organizational loyalties and party partisanship" and unite behind the goal of setting up an Islamic state.
However, he suggests he will not impose unity, saying in an audio message Friday that "what you agree upon will also be our choice."
Two al-Qaida-linked groups have emerged in Syria's civil war -- Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. The first is commanded by a Syrian, the second by an Iraqi, but both are loyal to al-Zawahri.
Al-Zawahri also urged Syrian regime opponents not cut deals with Westerns and secular groups.

JERUSALEM (AP) -- The Israeli military says it has discovered an underground tunnel dug from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into Israel.
The military says it believes the Islamist group, which governs the Palestinian territory, dug the tunnel to carry out an attack or to kidnap Israelis.
The army said Sunday it discovered the tunnel a week ago, after finding an opening near a kibbutz along the Israel-Gaza border.
The army statement also says the tunnel is 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) long and appears to have been recently dug and in use until its discovery.
Hamas has dug tunnels into Israel in the past.
In 2006, Hamas militants sneaked into Israel through one such tunnel, kidnapped a soldier, and held him hostage in Gaza for five years.

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel's prime minister is reaching out to Europe for support in pressuring Iran over its nuclear program ahead of talks.
An Israeli government official said Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with the French President and the British Prime Minister this weekend.
Netanyahu said sanctions imposed on Iran are close to `'reaching their objectives" and should be increased. The official spoke anonymously as he is not allowed to discuss the issue.
Iran's new president has adopted a softer tone to the West in a move that critics dismiss as a trick aimed at removing biting sanctions.
Talks on Iran's nuclear program are set to resume in Geneva next week.
Israel views a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its very existence. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.

CAIRO (AP) -- Security officials in Egypt say a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has been referred to trial on charges of insulting the judiciary.
The officials said 85-year-old Mahdi Akef was referred to a criminal court Saturday. No date for the trial has been set.
Akef was arrested in July as part of a wide government crackdown against the Brotherhood following the July 3 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. Akef already faces charges of allegedly inciting violence.
The new case comes from when Akef called the judiciary "sick" and "corrupt" in April during the height of a power struggle between Morsi and the judiciary. He later tried to distance himself from the remarks.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- The leader of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood political party says the country's prime minister -- who was briefly abducted by militia members earlier this week -- has failed and needs to be replaced.
Mohammed Sawan, leader of Justice and Development party, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Saturday from Benghazi that the parliament is "seriously searching for an alternative" to Ali Zidan. Sawan says mismanagement by Zidan's government might have led to "irresponsible actions" by individuals, referring to Zidan's kidnapping.
On Friday, Zidan blamed political rivals' militias of orchestrating his abduction, but didn't name them. Sawan says Zidan told his lawmakers that he didn't mean Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood came in second in the country's first parliamentary elections last year. It has five ministers in Zidan's government.

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Pakistan's army chief says the country's powerful military supports government efforts to negotiate with militants but will keep open the option of launching possible military operations against them.
Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said in a speech Saturday that the army would be happy if talks lead to peace. But he warned the military had the ability to handle the issue by force if needed. He also reminded Pakistanis of the threat the militants once posed when they got within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the capital, Islamabad.
The new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said it supports peace talks over military operations to end years of fighting that has killed thousands. But so far the talks have made little progress.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Indian actress Freida Pinto urged the world on the International Day of the Girl Child to ensure that 66 million girls who are not in school today get an education.
The "Slumdog Millionaire" star told an event sponsored by the U.N. children's fund, UNICEF marking Friday's second annual observance of the international day that she had a chance to be educated and "I feel every girl in the world, in respect of where she comes from, what her social status is, needs to be given the same,"
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake was presented with a "Girl Declaration" from thousands of people around the world at the event calling on world leaders to urgently address the plight of 250 million girls worldwide who currently live in poverty and face discrimination.
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- The death of wartime Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap has triggered public mourning in Vietnam the likes of which have been unseen since Ho Chi Minh passed away more than four decades ago.
And given the current leaders, it may not be witnessed again, according to many of the 150,000 people who lined up to pay respects to the so-called "Red Napoleon."
The ruling Communist Party orchestrated the sendoff, and Giap's body was laid in state in Hanoi on Saturday. The country's top leaders paid their final respects, and unrelated public events were cancelled.
Giap is best remembered for leading Vietnamese forces to victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Throughout most of the war against the United States, Giap was defense minister and armed forces commander.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- A very strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 has struck west of the Greek island of Crete.
The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake took place at 4:12 p.m. (1312 GMT), 68 kilometers (42 miles) west of the city of Chania, in Crete, and 279 kilometers (172 miles) south of Athens. The epicenter was 23 kilometers (14 miles) under the sea.
The earthquake was also felt in Athens. Local media in Crete reported some damage to buildings but firefighters in Chania say there was no serious damage and no emergency calls.

PANAMA CITY (AP) -- A Panamanian official says the two Cuban MiG-21 jet fighters found aboard a seized North Korean cargo ship were in perfect conditions to operate and that the 15 plane engines are new and could be used as replacements.
The official says the assertion by the Cuban government that the military equipment was obsolete is incorrect.
The official spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be quoted by name.
He said the shipping of the weapons between Cuba and North Korea is part of an agreement between those two countries and that Cuba was going to receive $200 million for them.
After the seizure, Cuba said the cargo included "obsolete defensive weapons" they were sending to North Korea "to be repaired and returned."

LIMA, Peru (AP) -- A bus has plunged off a cliff into a river southeast of the Peruvian capital of Lima, killing 50 people, including 13 children.
The accident occurred Friday night after the bus left the provincial capital of Santa Teresa. It fell about 650 feet (200 meters) into the chasm. Authorities said bodies were found as far as 330 feet (100 meters) away from the impact site.
Firefighter Capt. David Taboada said no survivors were found. He also said authorities had not determined the cause of the accident.
The high-altitude roads of the Peruvian Andes are notorious for such bus plunges, with poor farmers comprising many of the victims.

SAO PAULO (AP) -- A ranch owner has been sentenced to more than 100 years in jail for ordering and taking part in the 2004 killing of five landless farmworkers who occupied his property in southeastern Brazil.
The website of the judiciary branch of the state of Minas Gerais says Adriano Chafik received a 115-year sentence, while his employee Washington Agostinho was sentenced to 97 years. But under Brazilian law no one can serve more than 30 years in prison.
The two are free pending the outcome of their appeal processes.
Killings over land conflicts in Brazil are common.
According to the watchdog group Catholic Land Pastoral, more than 1,500 rural activists have been slain in Brazil over the past 25 years.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) -- Guyana's government is calling for face-to-face meetings with Venezuelan officials after the seizure of an American-chartered ship in disputed waters revived a decades-old territorial dispute between the two South American neighbors.
The ship was conducting a seismic survey under contract for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. on Thursday when it was stopped by a Venezuelan navy vessel and ordered to sail under escort to Margarita Island. Five American oil workers were on board.
Houston-based Anadarko said it was working with the governments of Guyana and the U.S. to secure the release of the crew and the vessel.
Guyana's Foreign Ministry Saturday said that it had requested a meeting next week to discuss the latest developments, which threaten to scare away much-needed foreign investment.
The State Department declined to comment.


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