Over 100 killed in Somali conflict

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Hundreds of foreigners fighting alongside Somali Islamic insurgents have driven this week's fierce battles against government forces, which have killed more than 100 people, the U.N. envoy to Somalia said Friday.

Concern that the government might fall is mounting. Observers fear that if the al-Qaida linked insurgents seize the capital, they will gain a safe haven on the Horn of Africa.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday condemned the upsurge in fighting and gave strong support to the country's leaders. A statement approved by all 15 council members demanded that opposition groups immediately end their offensive, renounce violence and join reconciliation efforts.

Piracy not based on intelligence

LONDON - Pirate attacks off the Somali coast appear to be mainly opportunistic and there is no indication that vessels are targeted with the help of intelligence from international contacts, a maritime watchdog said Friday.

The International Maritime Bureau said there was no evidence to support media reports that individuals with access to information about shipping routes and cargoes may be helping pirates to locate the most vulnerable ships, and ones most likely to yield large ransoms.

Pirate raids on vessels off the Horn of Africa have surged this year, confounding authorities who have been hard-pressed to curb the assaults despite the deployment of an international task force of military craft.

Pope Benedict ends pilgrimage

JERUSALEM - Pope Benedict XVI ended his pilgrimage to the Holy Land on Friday with a stirring call for peace at the site of Jesus' crucifixion and then made an emotional appeal to Israel and the Palestinians: 'No more bloodshed. No more fighting. No more terrorism. No more war.'

After a weeklong struggle to get his message across through a din of Israeli criticism and Palestinian protest against Israel, Benedict delivered his strongest words yet on the Jewish state's right to exist and the Palestinians' right to a country of their own.

US helps Mexico in drug battle

MEXICO CITY - Mexico has received eight armored vehicles as part of a U.S. aid package to help the government with its nationwide fight against drug cartels.

The U.S. Embassy says the vehicles were handed over to federal police agents to protect them during counternarcotics operations.