World News: Missing McCann Daughter Search Broadened; Mideast Turmoil; Japan Leak; China Pollution

By: ap
By: ap
Madeleine McCann

This undated composite image shows photos of then 3-year-old missing child Madeleine McCann and a projected computer generated image of her at 9 years old. (Credit: AP Photo/London Metropolitan Police/Teri Blythe)

LONDON (AP) -- Madeleine McCann's parents says they're "greatly encouraged" by the expanding British police investigation into the case of their missing daughter.
Kate and Gerry McCann released a statement Sunday indicating they believe new information made available to police and a detailed BBC "Crimewatch" show may finally turn up vital information.
The statement says the couple hopes the show "will bring further new evidence which will take us a step closer to finding Madeleine and to bringing those responsible for her abduction to justice."
The police said this week they are combing phone records of thousands of tourists and residents who were at a Portuguese resort at the time of the 3-year-old girl's disappearance in May 2007.
The "Crimewatch" show to be aired Monday will include a detailed reconstruction of the crime.

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi officials say the death toll from a suicide bomb attack on Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad has risen sharply, increasing the total number of people killed in Iraq on Saturday to 66.
Police officials say the bombing of Shiite pilgrims passing through the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah en route to a nearby Shiite shrine killed at least 42 people and wounded 80.
Officials say other attacks in Iraq killed 24 people.
Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figures. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

BERLIN (AP) -- Syria's President Bashar Assad has conceded making mistakes and says no side in his country's civil war is entirely free of blame, according to an interview to be published Sunday by German magazine Der Spiegel.
The respected Hamburg-based weekly reported that Assad acknowledged "personal mistakes by individuals," though the advance version of the interview released Saturday didn't elaborate on what those mistakes might have been.
"We all make mistakes. Even a president makes mistakes," Der Spiegel quoted him as saying. Assad reportedly added that there were "gray tones" as far as the question of blame was concerned.
Assad, whose authoritarian rule prompted protests more than two years ago that evolved into a bloody civil war with over 100,000 dead, said he didn't believe in a negotiated peace with the rebels trying to oust him.
"According to my definition a political opposition isn't armed," he was quoted as saying.
In its announcement about the interview, Der Spiegel did not say when it took place or whether it was face to face.
The magazine reported that Assad had declared a willingness to call elections before his term ends in August, and that he hadn't yet decided whether to run for the presidency again.
"If I don't have the will of the people behind me then I won't run again," it quoted him as saying.
Asked about the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus that killed hundreds of people, Assad again denied his regime's involvement.
"The picture you're painting of me as someone who kills his own people is (false)," the magazine quoted him as saying.
Western officials, who say there is little doubt Assad's troops are to blame, "trust al-Qaida more than me," Assad reportedly said.

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli police say a 9-year-old Jewish girl was shot and seriously injured while playing outside in the West Bank.
Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says she was hit by a single shot to the upper body as she played outside Saturday in the settlement of Psagot.
He says it appears to have been a Palestinian sniper attack carried out from long range. Tensions are high between Israelis and Palestinians in the area.
An Israeli soldier was recently shot and killed by a sniper in the West Bank city of Hebron.
Rosenfeld says Psagot residents have been to stay at home while searches are underway.

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A Palestinian farmer says that a group of vandals from an Israeli settlement in the West Bank damaged dozens of olive trees as the annual harvest of the important crop begins.
Yasser Fukha said Saturday that 129 trees were damaged. He said he saw residents of the nearby settlement Shavei Shomron driving near the farm earlier this week and later found the trees damaged.
The incident came as the 40-day olive harvest begins. For Palestinians the crop is more than a fruit to be consumed or sold, they view it as a symbol of their connection to the land. Every year they say settlers target their trees.
Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police are looking into the report. The military said forces were sent to the scene to investigate.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- Libya's official news agency says gunmen have attacked a military post southeast of the capital, killing 15 soldiers.
A military official said the gunmen in vehicles topped with machineguns attacked the post on the road between the towns of Tarhuna and Bani Walid early Saturday.
He spoke on condition of anonymity according to the regulations.
The Libya News Agency says another five soldiers were wounded.
Libya has been hit by a months-long wave of attacks targeting military officers, activists, judges and security agents.

TOKYO (AP) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says Japan is open to receiving overseas help to contain widening radioactive water leaks at the crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima.
Abe made the comments Sunday in a speech at an international science forum in Kyoto in western Japan.
Despite Abe's reassurances to the International Olympic Committee last month that the leaks were "under control," many Japanese believe he was glossing over problems at the plant.
Officials have acknowledged that the ground water contaminated with radioactive leaks have been seeping into the Pacific since soon after meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Recent leaks from storage tanks have added to public concerns.

BEIJING (AP) -- Fog and pollution in northern China have led to flight cancellations and road closures during a peak travel period as a weeklong national holiday nears its end.
China's National Meteorological Center said the haze would hang over a large area of northern China until Monday afternoon. It said that in some areas of Beijing visibility had dropped to less than 500 meters (yards) on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
State media reported six major expressways had partly closed, including one linking Beijing and Shanghai.
Beijing Capital International Airport said four international flights had been cancelled Sunday morning while three had been delayed. Two domestic flights were cancelled and 20 delayed.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese travel during the Oct. 1-7 holiday known as Golden Week.

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