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INDIA: 29 die as bus plunges into reservoir

A bus carrying wedding guests plunged into a reservoir, killing 29 people in the southern state of Karnataka, police said Wednesday. At least five people swam to safety and were hospitalized. The bus veered off the road and fell into the reservoir late Tuesday, said a police official in Mysore, southwest of Bangalore. Twenty-nine bodies, including those of 25 women and children, had been recovered and divers were searching for more.


AUSTRALIA: Boat crash kills asylum seekers

Several asylum seekers were killed Wednesday when their boat crashed into cliff-side rocks on Christmas Island and sank in heavy seas, Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan said in Sydney. Bodies, including those of children, were seen floating in the water. Christmas Island is an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean where refugee hopefuls are housed in a detention center.


IRAQ: Breakthrough in government crisis

The head of a Sunni-backed political party will join the Shia-led government being assembled by his top rival, a spokeswoman said Tuesday, clearing a final hurdle to end months of tortuous, postelection deal-making. Former Premier Ayad Allawi had held out for months, insisting he or one of his allies should be the next prime minister because his secular Iraqiya party narrowly won more seats than any other alliance in the March election. But after what appeared to be a warm 90-minute meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Allawi had agreed to join as head of a council to oversee security and foreign policy issues.


FRANCE: Kosovo accused of selling kidneys

Civilians detained by the Kosovo Liberation Army were allegedly shot to death in northern Albania so their kidneys could be extracted and sold on the black market after the war in Kosovo ended in 1999, according to a report for Europe's premier human rights watchdog. The report by Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty, more than two years in the making, suggested Kosovo's U.S.-backed prime minister was once the "boss" of a criminal underworld behind the alleged grisly trade. Kosovo branded the report as "baseless" and accused Marty of bias and "fabrications." The 55-page report is an attempt to cast new light on the KLA, which received U.S. backing in its fight to secure Kosovo's independence from Serbia in 1999. Marty said the organ recipients, including patients from Canada, Germany, Poland and Israel, had paid $110,000 to $137,000 for them.

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