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INDONESIA: All 45 on jet feared dead

Rescuers discovered the shattered wreckage of a new Russian-made passenger plane Thursday that smashed into the side of a volcano during a flight to impress potential buyers. All 45 people on board were feared dead. With steep, rugged terrain at the remote site, the bodies will be placed in nets and lifted by ropes to a hovering chopper, the national search and rescue agency said. Heavy mist was hampering visibility, forcing postponement of evacuations until Friday. The Sukhoi Superjet-100, Russia's first new passenger jet since the fall of the Soviet Union, was on a six-nation tour of Asia.


YEMEN: 2 top militants struck down

Two airstrikes Thursday in the south killed seven al-Qaida militants, including two top operatives, officials said. Yemeni soldiers, meanwhile, shelled a gathering of al-Qaida fighters elsewhere in the south, killing 10 militants. The airstrikes hit in the town of Jaar and northeast of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, security officials said. The United States has usually used drones to strike al-Qaida in Yemen. Yemeni officials said one raid was carried out by a drone.


SUDAN: Angry words aim at South

President Omar al-Bashir vowed revenge for any attacks by South Sudan against the north's territory, saying Thursday his forces would "chop off any hand" trying to take Sudanese land. Al-Bashir claimed his soldiers killed more than 1,300 South Sudanese troops during the 10-day fighting last month over the oil-rich border town of Heglig, which the south briefly captured. Heglig, claimed by the north, has since been reoccupied by Sudan. Al-Bashir's warnings came a day after South Sudan accused Khartoum of resuming aerial bombardment of the south in violation of international calls for a cease-fire.


BRITAIN: Ex-editor takes grilling

The secretive spin doctor who helped bring Prime Minister David Cameron to power made a rare public appearance Thursday at the media ethics inquiry, denying that he got the job to boost Cameron's clout with Rupert Murdoch's media empire. Andy Coulson, who was the editor of the defunct News of the World when its illegal phone hacking was first exposed, bridled when asked whether Cameron had hired him because of his Murdoch connections. "Well, they wouldn't hurt," Coulson said of those connections. "But I didn't ever express the view that they would guarantee any kind of support." He conceded that politicians and the press had grown too close. Coulson's appearance and testimony due Friday from ex-Murdoch executive Rebekah Brooks have brought the scandal knocking on the door of 10 Downing St.

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