Death toll from Taiwan quake hits 34
Over 100 missing, 14 dead as strong quake rattles Taiwan
Turkey under pressure as Syrians mass at border
Latin America scrambles to squash Zika-spreading mosquito
World pledges $10B for Syrians, but peace prospects bleak
Egypt official: Tortured Italian student died 'slow death'
World briefs 4/14/05
Prime minister-designate steps down in Lebanon
BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Lebanon's pro-Syrian prime minister-designate stepped down Wednesday, saying he was unable to form a new government after nearly seven weeks of deadlock, a move heightening the country's political turmoil and making it unlikely crucial elections will be held on time. The opposition warned it could call for a new round of street protests to push the government into holding the elections on schedule, by May 31. The opposition expects to win the vote and end pro-Syrian factions' longtime domination of parliament. Prime Minister-designate Omar Karami announced that all his efforts to form a government had failed. "Today, and after many attempts ... once again we reached a dead end," he told a news conference at his Beirut residence. "That's why I am confirming my decision to excuse myself."
Eight of nine suspects cleared in ricin plot
LONDON -- Britain's cases against nine North Africans accused of plotting to spread the deadly toxin ricin in the British capital resulted in only one conviction -- an Algerian linked to al-Qaida -- with eight others either not brought to trial or acquitted, according to details released Wednesday. Britain had forbidden reporting on the case until two lengthy trials were complete, and a judged lifted the prohibition after a court found four of the accused, all Algerians, not guilty Friday and dropped charges against four -- three Algerians and a Libyan -- on Wednesday.
Japan officials approve drilling in disputed sea
TOKYO -- Japan began processing applications to let companies explore a disputed area of the East China Sea for natural gas -- a decision China called a "provocation" in a disagreement that could imperil Tokyo's bid for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi denied the move Wednesday had anything to do with a feud between Tokyo and Beijing over Japan's World War II aggression.