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TMCNet:  AP International NewsBrief at 5:55 p.m. EST

[February 03, 2013]

AP International NewsBrief at 5:55 p.m. EST

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Israel suggests responsibility for Syria airstrikeMUNICH (AP) _ Israel's defense minister strongly signaled Sunday that his country was behind an airstrike in Syria last week, telling a high profile security conference that Israeli threats to take pre-emptive action against its enemies are not empty. "We mean it," Ehud Barak declared. Israel has not officially confirmed its planes attacked a site near Damascus, targeting ground-to-air missiles apparently heading for Lebanon, but its intentions have been beyond dispute. During the 22 months of civil war in Syria, Israeli leaders have repeatedly expressed concern that high-end weapons could fall into the hands of enemy Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militants.



Rescuers find body in Mexico oil company blastMEXICO CITY (AP) _ Mexico's state-owned oil company says rescuers have found another body amid the rubble of a headquarters building damaged by a still-unexplained blast. The find raises the death toll of Thursday's explosion to 34 people. Petroleos Mexicanos operations director Carlos Murrieta says rescue crews are still looking for three people in the rubble, and believe they're in the most damaged part of the building.

Iraq stock sale sign of investor confidenceBAGHDAD (AP) _ An Iraqi telecom company raised nearly $1.3 billion Sunday on Baghdad's small stock exchange in one of the region's biggest share offers in years _ a sign of investor confidence in the fledgling private sector despite violence that still plagues the country. In a reminder of Iraq's volatility, several suicide attackers on foot and in two explosives-laden cars assaulted a provincial police headquarters in northern Iraq, killing at least 15 people and wounding 90. Rescue workers led away dazed survivors, including veiled women climbing over debris, and pulled several mangled and scorched bodies from the rubble.

Fatal gang rape shatters Indian family's dreamsNEW DELHI (AP) _ Her parents called her "bitiya," or little daughter. She was her family's biggest hope. In a country where women are routinely pushed into subservience, this 23-year-old who dreamed of becoming a doctor was going to lift them out of poverty. "Without her we are lost," said her father, rocking on the edge of a bed in the family's tiny basement apartment, hugging himself as if to hold in the grief. The sadness enveloped him as he talked of his daughter, who died after she was gang-raped in a moving bus in New Delhi in December, a case that galvanized public anger in India over sexual attacks and the inability of authorities to stop them.

US military expands its drug war in Latin AmericaThe crew members aboard the USS Underwood could see through their night goggles what was happening on the fleeing go-fast boat: Someone was dumping bales. When the Navy guided-missile frigate later dropped anchor in Panamanian waters on that sunny August morning, Ensign Clarissa Carpio, a 23-year-old from San Francisco, climbed into the inflatable dinghy with four unarmed sailors and two Coast Guard officers like herself, carrying light submachine guns. It was her first deployment, but Carpio was ready for combat.

Stun gun used on armed man near Buckingham PalaceLONDON (AP) _ Police used a stun gun to arrest a man armed with knives outside Buckingham Palace on Sunday, as throngs of tourists gathered to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony there. Scotland Yard said the man, thought to be in his 50s, was spotted carrying two knives outside the central gate of the London tourist landmark. He did not threaten other people at the scene, but when challenged by police he acted aggressively.

Iran positive but noncommittal about talks with USMUNICH (AP) _ Iran's foreign minister on Sunday welcomed the United States' willingness to hold direct talks with Tehran in the standoff over its nuclear program but didn't commit to accepting the offer _ insisting that Washington must show "fair and real" intentions to resolve the issue and complaining about "threatening rhetoric." Ali Akbar Salehi insisted that no Iranian "red line" is getting in the way of direct negotiations with Washington, but also pointed to deep mistrust between the two countries.

Girl shot by Taliban undergoes 2 operations in UKLONDON (AP) _ A Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban is in stable condition after undergoing two successful operations to reconstruct her skull and restore her hearing, the British hospital treating her said Sunday. Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital said doctors for 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai, who was targeted for advocating girls' education, were "very pleased" with her progress after five hours of skull reconstruction and ear surgery on Saturday.

Argentine music troupes launch carnival paradesBUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ Argentina's carnival celebrations may not be as well-known as the ones in neighboring Uruguay and Brazil, but residents of the nation's capital are equally passionate about their "murgas," or traditional musical troupes. The more than 100 murgas in Buenos Aires launched their annual festivities over the weekend in a last blowout before the start of the somber Christian season of Lent. In some cases, carnival is also an excuse to celebrate a murga troupe's favorite soccer team.

Turkey pledges support for Syrian oppositionBEIRUT (AP) _ Turkey on Sunday pledged its continued support for the Syrian opposition, saying its leaders should not be pressured into talks with the regime as civil war rages. Speaking at a security conference in Germany, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country supports efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria, but he understands the opposition's refusal to talk to President Bashar Assad after so many Syrian deaths in the fight to topple him.

(c) 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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