Police foil bank theft attempt

LONDON - Police foiled a high-tech attempt to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from a Japanese bank's London offices by accessing its computer system and making money transfers, British and Israeli authorities said Thursday.

Israeli police, working with British officers, arrested a man Wednesday in connection with the attempt to rob Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., police in Israel said in a statement.

The Financial Times said the thieves tried to steal $424 million.

Syria completes first phase of redeployment

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Syria's army and intelligence agents on Thursday completed the first phase of their pullback to eastern Lebanon's border, with about 4,000 troops having crossed into Syria and the rest positioning themselves along the Lebanese side of the border.

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan demanded Thursday that Syria withdraw all its troops from Lebanon before Lebanese parliamentary elections in April and May.

The Syrian withdrawal comes ahead of Tuesday's summit of Arab leaders in Algeria. Syrian and Lebanon agreed earlier this month that Syrian troops and intelligence agents would redeploy in the eastern Bekaa Valley or withdraw to Syria by March 31.

Man threatens to blow up flight

MOSCOW - A passenger on a Tokyo-Moscow flight was detained Thursday after he tried to get into the cockpit, Russian news agencies reported, with one report saying the man threatened to blow up the plane carrying 214 passengers but suggesting he did not have explosives.

The Aeroflot Boeing-777 was approaching Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport when the pilot alerted controllers that a passenger had tried to enter the cockpit but was blocked by crew members, the Interfax news agency reported, citing airport spokeswoman Angelina Matrosova.

Officials report progress toward Iraqi government

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Shiite and Kurdish officials reported progress Thursday in resolving disagreements over territorial issues and Cabinet posts, but said they may need another week to put together Iraq's coalition government.

The latest setback came after Kurdish politicians reportedly insisted on amending a deal they struck last week with the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance. They agreed to go ahead with a ceremony Wednesday swearing in the 275-seat National Assembly elected Jan. 30.

- From wire reports