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SOMALIA: Russians recapture tanker

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 gun battle. 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. After spotting the hijacked vessel early Thursday, the warship fired warning shots from its large-caliber machine gun, undeterred by the tanker's flammable cargo of 86,000 tons of crude. Oil tankers don't even allow crew members to smoke on board because of the risk of igniting the cargo, but the Russian navy decided to move in with weapons after determining the crew had taken refuge in a safe room.


GREECE: Austerity cuts approved

Greek lawmakers approved drastic austerity cuts Thursday needed to secure international rescue loans worth $140 billion and clashes briefly erupted in the streets outside parliament, forcing police to use tear gas. The new clashes came a day after violent protests left three people dead after a bank was firebombed in Athens. Lawmakers voted 172-121 to approve the austerity measures, worth about $38.18 billion through 2012, that will slash pensions and civil servants' pay and further hike consumer taxes.


H4>INDIA: Mumbai death sentence

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 Pakistan to stop future violence. 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.

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