WORLD IN BRIEF: Russian forces storm oil tanker; 1 pirate killed

ABOARD THE CARLSKRONA -- A Russian warship hunted down an oil tanker hijacked by Somali pirates and special forces rappelled on board Thursday, surprising the outlaws, who surrendered after a 22-minute gunbattle. Twenty-three Russian sailors were freed.

The dramatic Indian Ocean rescue came a day after pirates seized the tanker, which was heading toward China carrying $50 million worth of crude. One pirate was killed and 10 others were arrested, officials said.

The Russian destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov had rushed to the scene following Wednesday's seizure of the Liberian-flagged tanker, Moscow University.

Sunni-backed party in Iraq warns of sectarianism

BAGHDAD -- The Sunni-backed alliance that got the most votes in Iraq's election warned Thursday against the rise of sectarian politics after two religious Shiite blocs joined together to try to form a government.

The Iraqiya party led by secular Shiite Ayad Allawi won the most seats in parliament with strong backing from the nation's disaffected Sunnis in the March 7 elections, but it cannot form a majority government alone. Now looks as though Iraqiya will be squeezed out of first place by the new Shiite alliance, effectively losing the first chance to form a governing coalition.

''We hope that the motive and the reason behind this new alliance is purely politics and not to take sides according to the sect,'' Iraqiya said. ''The time of sectarian and ethnical polarization has gone after it proved to be a threat to the unity of Iraqi people.''

Pakistani man accused in Mumbai attacks sentenced to die

MUMBAI, India -- An Indian court sentenced the only surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks to death Thursday, a punishment officials hoped would send a message to archrival Pakistan to stop future violence as fears about the global reach of militancy based on its soil grow.

Judge M.L. Tahaliyani gave Mohammed Ajmal Kasab multiple death sentences for murder, waging war against India, conspiracy and terrorism. He also handed down penalties for over two dozen other offenses ranging to life in prison.

''He shall be hanged by his neck until he is dead,'' Tahaliyani said.