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WORLD IN BRIEF: Moms of hikers in Iran left in dark about case

Moms of hikers in Iran left in dark about case

MINNEAPOLIS -- The mothers of three Americans detained in Iran said Thursday they've held off on hiring a lawyer for their children and are still hopeful they will be freed without being put on trial despite being left in the dark by authorities about their case.

It's been almost five months since the three were taken captive in Iran for allegedly straying across the country's border and almost two months since their families have had any word on their condition.

Iran's foreign minister said Monday the three would be tried in court -- but their mothers have not been able to confirm that with Iranian authorities. An Iranian prosecutor has accused them of espionage, something the mothers also haven't been able to confirm.

Police: Brazil boy stuck with needles in ritual

BRASILIA, Brazil -- The stepfather of a 2-year-old boy found with 42 needles in his body confessed to jabbing them into the toddler during a month of rituals with a lover who he claimed received instructions through trances, Brazilian police said Thursday.

Roberto Carlos Magalhaes, a 30-year-old bricklayer, told detectives the woman went into trances and would ''command him to stick the needles in the boy's body,'' police inspector Helder Fernandes Santana said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

The woman, Angelina Ribeiro dos Santos, paid to have the needles blessed by a woman who practices the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomble and convinced Magalhaes that inserting them into the boy would somehow allow them to be together, Santana said.

US, China edge closer in UN climate talks

COPENHAGEN -- The United States and China took steps Thursday toward a broad agreement that could be sealed by President Barack Obama and Premier Wen Jiabao when they arrive at the flagging U.N. climate talks.

Fresh off a plane from Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the U.S. would join others in raising $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer nations cope with global warming.

That's a ''good first step,'' China's vice foreign minister, He Yafei, said later.