India elects first female president
NEW DELHI - India chose its first female president Saturday in an election hailed as a victory for women in a country where gender discrimination is deep-rooted and widespread.
Still, it's not clear how much 72-year-old Pratibha Patil - a lawyer, congresswoman and former governor of the northern state of Rajasthan - can or will do in the mostly ceremonial post to improve the lives of her countrywomen.
Patil won 65.82 percent of the votes cast by national lawmakers and state legislators, said P.D.T. Achary, the secretary general of Parliament. She had the support of the governing Congress party and its political allies and had been expected to win.
Brazil suffers more air safety problems
SAO PAULO, Brazil - A radar failure over the Amazon forced Brazil to turn back or ground a string of international flights Saturday, deepening a national aviation crisis just hours after the president unveiled safety measures prompted by the country's deadliest air disaster.
Further shaking Brazilians' confidence, authorities said they had mistaken a piece of the fuselage from Tuesday's accident for the flight recorder and sent it to a laboratory for analysis.
The radar outage from midnight to 2:30 a.m., which Brazilian media said was apparently caused by an electrical problem, forced planes heading to Brazil to return to their points of origin and make unscheduled landings at airports from Puerto Rico to Chile.
'This is total chaos here. I have never seen anything like it and it makes me feel very unsafe,' said Eli Rocha, 52, of Oklahoma City, who was trying to head to Dallas with his 12-year-old son. He was delayed at Sao Paulo's international airport Saturday amid scores of passengers arriving from the United States after hours of delays.
The confusion followed a nationally televised speech by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who tried to calm the nation Friday night by announcing new safety measures and saying authorities will build a new airport in Sao Paulo, where an Airbus A320 operated by TAM Airlines crashed, killing 191 people.
Taliban wants to trade 23 S.Koreans for its own fighters
KABUL, Afghanistan - A purported Taliban spokesman said Saturday the Islamic militia had killed two German hostages, a claim disputed by both Afghanistan and Germany. He also offered to trade 23 captive South Koreans for imprisoned Taliban fighters.
The militant spokesman offered no proof of his claim on the kidnapped Germans. Afghan officials said one of the Germans appeared to have died from a heart attack, while the other was still alive.
'Everything indicates he was a victim of the stress of the kidnapping,' German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Berlin.
Iraqi PM urges parliament to limit summer break
BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister urged parliament Saturday to cancel or shorten its summer vacation to pass laws Washington considers crucial to Iraq's stability and the debate on how long U.S. forces should remain.
Parliament was scheduled to adjourn for all of August. American officials, however, began pressing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and parliament late last year to pass at least two laws viewed as a way to defuse the sectarian violence crippling Iraq: one on the distribution of oil and another on how to handle former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party.
Al-Maliki's office said he discussed parliament's failure to pass key legislation during a meeting with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and presidential adviser Meghan O'Sullivan. There was no immediate report on the meeting from U.S. officials.
Italian police arrest 3 Moroccans in terror investigation
ROME - Italian police arrested three Moroccans on Saturday - an imam and two aides - accusing them of belonging to a militant cell that allegedly used a mosque in central Italy as a terror training camp.
The cell held courses on hand-to-hand combat and used propaganda films and documents downloaded from the Internet to teach students how to prepare poisons and explosives, pilot a Boeing 747 and send encrypted messages, anti-terrorism police in Rome said in a statement.
The mosque on the outskirts of Perugia, the Umbrian capital, also offered weapons training, as well as instructions on how to ambush and how to reach combat zones safely, police said.
N. Korea envoy wants reward for shutting down nuclear programs
BEIJING - North Korea's nuclear envoy demanded Saturday that his country be given power-generating reactors as a reward for eventually dismantling its atomic programs.
The demand presents a future hurdle for talks aimed at ridding Pyongyang of its ability to make nuclear bombs.
'In order to ultimately dismantle (the nuclear programs), light-water reactors should be given' to the North, Kim Kye Gwan told reporters before leaving Beijing, referring to a type of nuclear reactor that cannot be easily used to make radioactive materials for weapons.