Brazil: Flooding kills 15

SAO PAULO — Flooding from torrential rains in Brazil's normally arid northeast has killed 15 people and driven about 50,000 from their homes, civil defense officials said Saturday.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed an executive order Friday night releasing some $360 million to help flood victims.

Colombia: Rebels in hiding

BOGOTA — A French-led mission to free hostage Ingrid Betancourt in Colombia may fail because officials cannot find any rebels to talk to about her release. The insurgents are in hiding, their main contact with the outside world is dead and Interpol has an arrest notice out for a top guerrilla leader.

Only a few years ago, Colombian rebel leaders were easily found in the towns and fields of southern Colombia as they talked peace with the government. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who received rebel-held hostages earlier this year because of his previous efforts at mediation, says he now has no way of reaching the rebel group.

France: Pirates seize yacht

PARIS — France's military is keeping close tabs on a French luxury yacht seized by pirates off Somalia's coast, and officials hope to avoid using force to free the 30 crew members, the prime minister said Saturday.

Attackers stormed the 288-foot Le Ponant on Friday as it returned without passengers from the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, toward the Mediterranean Sea, officials with French maritime transport company CMA-CGM said. The crew included 22 French citizens, including six women, French Defense Minister Herve Morin said.

Israel: Peace talks to resume

JERUSALEM — Israeli and Palestinian leaders will resume their regular meetings on Monday to review progress in U.S.-backed efforts to work out a peace deal by year's end, a Palestinian negotiator said Saturday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had called off his meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the beginning of March in response to an Israeli anti-rocket raid on the Gaza Strip that killed 120 people, dozens of them civilians. The leaders had committed to meet every two weeks, but they last met Feb. 19.

Abbas and Olmert will talk in the meeting Monday about how much each side has done to meet its peace obligations, negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

Oman: Gates meets with leader

MUSCAT — Defense Secretary Robert Gates met Saturday with this Gulf nation's supreme leader, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, marking the second high-level Bush administration visit in as many months to a longtime ally that has friendly relations with Iran.

Gates made no public remarks in this tightly controlled state, but an aide told reporters accompanying the Pentagon chief that he reaffirmed President Bush's policy of pursuing diplomatic efforts to resolve the international community's conflict with Iran over its nuclear program.

Saudi Arabia: Teen sentenced

RIYADH — A Saudi Arabian court convicted a 17-year-old Canadian for involvement in the murder of a classmate and sentenced him on Saturday to a year in prison and 200 lashes, his father and lawyer said.

The boy's older brother, Mohammed Kohail, was already convicted on March 4 in the murder, and sentenced to death by beheading, along with a third man, a Jordanian.

Mohammad and his younger brother, Sultan Kohail, 17, were detained in January 2007 after a school yard brawl resulted in the death of another student from internal injuries. Canada has said it would seek clemency for Mohammad, 23.