Afghanistan: Reporter freed
KABUL — A female Canadian TV journalist abducted and held for nearly four weeks in Afghanistan was freed Saturday after Afghan tribal leaders persuaded her kidnappers to release her, officials said.
Mellissa Fung, a reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on her second visit to Afghanistan, was taken hostage Oct. 12 after reporting in a refugee camp in Kabul. Adam Khan Serat, spokesman for the provincial governor in Wardak, said there was no ransom involved in negotiating her release.
Egypt: U.S.-Russia meeting
SHARM EL-SHEIK — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with her Russian counterpart on Saturday as they sought to ease escalating tensions in the waning weeks of the Bush administration.
In what may be one of her last such sessions with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as the chief U.S. diplomat, Rice hosted Lavrov at her hotel in this Egyptian Red Sea resort for an 80-minute discussion that the State Department described as "good and productive." Despite the length of the private meeting, there was no sign either side had budged on its position on the most contentious issues, notably missile defense, arms control and Russia's war with Georgia.
Gaza Strip: Blockade defied
GAZA CITY — A group of European lawmakers sailed from Cyprus into Gaza Saturday, defying an internationally backed blockade of the Hamas-run territory with activists promising to send more visitors and goods to end the coastal strip's isolation.
Israel's navy did not try to block the vessel, Dignity, which made its third run from Cyprus to Gaza since August. The 23 passengers included 13 members of various European parliaments and an Israeli journalist, who will stay until Tuesday. The activists say they want to highlight the harm done to Gaza's 1.4 million residents.
Gaza Strip: Gunfire exchanged
GAZA CITY — The Israeli army and Hamas militants say their forces traded fire on Gaza's border, testing a shaky truce in place since June.
The gunbattle between Israeli forces and Hamas gunmen took place Saturday morning on Gaza's eastern border. The Israeli army says its soldiers were detonating two explosive devices on the border fence when Hamas gunmen opened fire, prompting the exchange. There were no reports of casualties.
Israel: Rabin remembered
TEL AVIV — Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered Saturday night at the square where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, to remember the man and his legacy 13 years after his killing.
The square in front of Tel Aviv city hall was the site of a peace rally on Nov. 4, 1995. As it ended, Rabin was gunned down by an ultra-nationalist Jewish opponent of his policy of trading land to the Palestinians for peace. Israel officially marks the 13th anniversary of Rabin's slaying on Monday.
Mexico: Disabled officers killed
CIUDAD JUAREZ — Two disabled police officers, part of a special unit to help the disabled, were shot dead while on traffic patrol in northern Mexico, an official said Saturday.
Unknown assailants opened fire on the men from a car at an intersection in the northern city of Chihuahua on Friday, said state Public Safety spokesman Carlos Rodriguez. Tirso Reza, 50, and Jose Luis Paez, 47, worked for a police unit dedicated to helping disabled people, including by ensuring that parking spaces designated for them were not illegally occupied. Reza was wheelchair-bound, while Paez had extremely weak eyesight.
New Zealand: Leader elected
WELLINGTON— New Zealanders chose a wealthy, conservative former financier Saturday to help navigate the country through the global financial meltdown, handing long-serving left-wing Prime Minister Helen Clark a crushing election defeat.
John Key, the 47-year-old leader of the conservative National Party, swept easily to power in this South Pacific country of 4.1 million people, ousting Clark's Labour Party after nine years in office. New Zealand's farming export-dependent economy fell into recession early this year, and Key said the worldwide downturn is the most immediate problem for the country.