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WORLD IN BRIEF: 59 escape, 7 dead in prison fight near US

59 escape, 7 dead in prison fight near US

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican officials said fighting among inmates at a prison near the U.S. border has killed seven prisoners and allowed at least 59 others to escape.

The clash happened Friday in the city of Nuevo Laredo, which borders Laredo, Texas.

The government of Tamaulipas state says five prison guards abandoned their posts during the fight. At least 35 of the escaped prisoners faced federal criminal prosecutions.

WSJ publisher quits over phone scandal

LONDON -- Rupert Murdoch accepted the resignation of The Wall Street Journal's publisher and the chief of his British operations on Friday as the once-defiant media mogul struggled to control an escalating phone hacking scandal with a public statement of contrition and a personal apology to the family of a murdered schoolgirl.

The scandal has knocked billions off the value of Murdoch's News Corp., scuttled his ambitions to take control of lucrative British Sky Broadcasting, withered his political power in Britain -- and is threatening to destabilize his globe-spanning business.

The controversy claimed its first victim in the United States as Les Hinton, chief executive of the Murdoch-owned Dow Jones & Co. and publisher of the Wall Street Journal, announced he was resigning with immediate effect.

Hinton has worked for Murdoch's News Corp. for 52 years and is one of the media baron's staunchest allies. A member of the board of The Associated Press, Hinton became head of Dow Jones in December 2007.

Syrians stage largest protests yet; 17 killed

BEIRUT -- Hundreds of thousands of Syrians mounted the largest protests Friday since the uprising began more than four months ago, pouring into areas where the government crackdown has been most intense in a sign that security forces cannot break the revolt.

Syrian authorities fired on the crowds, killing at least 17 people and wounding more than 100, activists said.

In a significant show of the uprising's strength, thousands turned out in the capital, Damascus, which had seen only scattered protests. Until now, much of the dissent against President Bashar Assad has been in impoverished, remote areas.