SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Authorities say a large forest fire that is covering the Chilean city of Valparaiso in smoke has destroyed at least 150 homes and is forcing evacuations.
President Michelle Bachelet has declared the port city a catastrophe zone, which puts the Armed Forces in charge of maintaining order and evacuating thousands of people affected by the smoke and flames.
Valparaiso Mayor Jorge Castro told Chile's National Television that while there have been no deaths or serious injuries, some people are being choked by the smoke. He said refuges for those forced to flee the fire have been set up.
Castro said Saturday night that "Valparaiso is without electricity at the moment and this means the flame column is creating a Dante-esque panorama and is advancing in an apparently uncontrollable manner."
BEIRUT (AP) -- The Syrian government and rebel forces say poison gas has been used in a central village, injuring scores of people, while blaming each other for the attack.
The main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, says dozens of people were hurt in a poison gas attack Friday in the village of Kfar Zeita.
State-run Syrian television on Saturday blamed members of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front for using chlorine gas at Kfar Zeita, killing two people and injuring more than 100.
In August, a chemical attack near the capital, Damascus, killed hundreds of people. The U.S. and its allies blamed the Syrian government for that attack, which nearly sparked Western airstrikes against President Bashar Assad's forces. Damascus denied the charges and accused rebels of staging the incident.
PERTH, Australia (AP) -- Planes and ships are resuming their search in the southern Indian Ocean for a missing Malaysian airliner.
But after a week of optimism over four underwater signals believed to be coming from the Boeing 777's black boxes, the sea has gone quiet and Australia's leader is warning that the massive search will likely be long.
No new electronic pings have been heard since April 8, and the batteries powering the locator beacons on the jet's data and voice recorders may already be dead. They only last about a month, and that window has already passed. Once officials are confident no more sounds will be heard, a robotic submersible will be sent down to slowly scour for wreckage across a vast area in extremely deep water.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says "No one should underestimate the difficulties of the task still ahead of us."
Abbott appears to be couching his earlier comments, when he met in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping to brief him on the search. He had expressed confidence that the signals heard by an Australian ship, which is towing a U.S. Navy device that listens for flight recorder pings, were coming from the black boxes.
Kerry expresses concern over attacks in Ukraine
Uniformed men occupy Donetsk police HQ
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed strong concern that attacks by armed militants in eastern Ukraine have been orchestrated and synchronized, and are similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
The State Department says that Kerry expressed his concern Saturday in a phone call with Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.
In a statement, the State Department says that Kerry made clear that if Russia does not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences.
On Saturday, men in the uniforms of Ukraine's now-defunct riot police occupied police headquarters in one of the eastern cities that's become a flashpoint of a wave of pro-Russia protests. A Ukrainian official describes the unrest as "Russian aggression."
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden will visit Ukraine later this month to meet with government and citizen leaders.
The White House says Biden will travel to the capital of Kiev on April 22 for a visit that will focus on the international community's efforts to help stabilize and strengthen Ukraine's economy.
Pakistan judge frees baby charged with attempted murder
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A Pakistani lawyer says a judge has freed a nine-month old boy accused of attempting to murder police in the eastern city of Lahore after police withdrew charges.
Lawyer Irfan Tarar says the judge announced the decision after Saturday's court hearing during which police said it had dropped the charge against the boy.
He says police had registered the case against the toddler and his family members without investigating the matter and the judge had sought an explanation.
The case highlights the country's dysfunctional criminal justice system where even children are not immune from questionable legal decisions.
The toddler was brought to court last Friday as part of an investigation relating to an incident where residents in his neighborhood clashed with police.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- An Iranian news agency is reporting that an appeals court has overturned a death sentence of an American man convicted of working for the CIA, instead sentencing him to 10 years in prison.
The semiofficial ISNA news agency reported Saturday that lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei says a Revolutionary Court issued the verdict for former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati. Tabatabaei described the verdict as final.
The Associated Press could not reach Tabatabaei on Saturday.
Iran charged Hekmati with receiving special training and serving at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for his alleged mission.
The 31-year-old Hekmati is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen born in Arizona. His father, a professor at a community college in Flint, Michigan, has said his son is not a CIA spy.
Mag-7.6 quake, waves strike Solomon Islands
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A powerful magnitude-7.6 earthquake has triggered large waves in the Solomon Islands and authorities are trying to determine if there has been any serious damage or injuries.
Government spokesman George Herming says people throughout the Pacific island chain awoke to the strong quake at 7:14 a.m. He says people on Makira and nearby islands southeast of the capital, Honiara, reported seeing three large waves after the quake.
He says there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has canceled a tsunami warning after earlier issuing an alert for some Pacific islands. The center reported that sea level readings indicate a small tsunami was generated that may have caused some destruction near the epicenter.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported the epicenter was 200 miles southeast of Honiara, at a depth of 18 miles.
The Solomon Islands lies on the "Ring of Fire" -- an arc of earthquake and volcanic activity that stretches around the Pacific Rim.
15 injured in northeast China train derailment
BEIJING (AP) -- A total of 15 people have been hospitalized after a train derailed in northeast China.
The railway bureau in Heilongjiang province says on its official microblog that the cause of Sunday's pre-dawn accident is under investigation.
It says bureau officials responded to the accident, accompanied by police and fire and rescue services.
China has one of the world's most extensive networks of railways, but accidents are extremely rare.