Residents flee as Gustav passes over Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Residents, tourists and oil workers fled as Gustav swamped Jamaica on Thursday, leaving 59 people dead in its wake. Louisiana and Texas put their national guards on standby, and New Orleans said a mandatory evacuation might be necessary.

At least 51 people died in Haiti from floods, mudslides and falling trees, including 25 around the city of Jacmel, where Gustav first struck land Tuesday. Eight more people were buried when a cliff gave way in the Dominican Republic. Marcelina Feliz died clutching her 11-month-old baby, and five more children were smothered in the wreckage beside her.

Afghan officials: Raid was mistake

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan officials said Thursday that a deadly U.S.-led special forces raid on a remote western village last week was based on misleading information provided by a rival clan.

It was the latest twist in a tangled debate over what happened. U.N. officials said the raid killed up to 90 civilians, most of them children. A NATO official said U.S. and Afghan troops were fired on first, touching off a battle of several hours that killed 25 militants and five civilians.

The U.S. government is pressing for a joint U.S.-Afghan probe in hopes of reaching a common conclusion.

Mexican court upholds abortion

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's Supreme Court has upheld legal abortion in the capital.

Mexico City is one of only a handful of places in Latin America that allow abortion without limitations in the first trimester.

Thursday's 8-3 vote supporting the Mexico City law opens the possibility that similar measures could be adopted elsewhere in Mexico. It might also inspire other leftist Latin American cities to follow suit.

The Roman Catholic church has declared itself in mourning over the ruling and said church leaders will redouble their efforts to fight abortion in Mexico.

Senior Iraqi tied to Shiite militia

BAGHDAD - A senior official in Nouri al-Maliki's government was in custody Thursday suspected of ties to Iranian-backed Shiite militias and plotting a June bombing that killed 10 people, including four Americans, Iraqi authorities said.

The arrest of Ali al-Lami - taken Wednesday as he left a plane arriving from Lebanon - reinforced suspicions about Tehran's influence within the Shiite-led Iraqi government and could open wider probes into Shiite networks, including possible links to Lebanon's Hezbollah.

Strong quake hits Canadian coast

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A strong earthquake struck off Canada's west coast early Thursday near Vancouver Island. There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries.

The magnitude-6.1 quake hit at 5:37 a.m. Geological Survey of Canada scientist Garry Rogers said there are no reports of injuries or damages and said it occurred too far off land for there to be any.

Chinese find embezzlements

BEIJING - Chinese government auditors have uncovered the misuse of millions of dollars in disaster assistance as part of an embezzlement probe spanning 10 central government departments, state media reported Thursday.

A total of $3.7 million in disaster relief funds were diverted to construct government buildings or spent on administration last year, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

China is trying to rebuild from a 7.9-magnitude quake that struck Sichuan province on May 12, killing nearly 70,000 people and leaving 5 million homeless.

Beijing has in recent years sought to tighten government budgets.