YEMEN: Al-Qaida deputy dies of wounds

Al-Qaida's No. 2 in Yemen died of wounds received in a U.S. drone attack last year, the official news agency and a security official said Thursday. Saeed al-Shihri, a Saudi national who fought in Afghanistan and spent six years in the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, was wounded in a missile attack in the southern city of Saada on Oct. 28, SABA news agency said. It said he had been in a coma since. It was not clear when he actually died.

JORDAN: Surprising gains for Islamists

The surprise victory of 37 Islamist and other government critics despite an election boycott injects a degree of dissent into the newly empowered parliament. The king has portrayed the assembly as a centerpiece of his reform package, but the opposition says it's not enough and vowed Thursday to stage more street protests. Initial results showed the Islamists, not linked to the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, and other opposition figures won more than 25 percent of the 150-seat parliament. The outgoing legislature was almost entirely made up of the king's supporters.

IRELAND: A bid to ease DWI for farmers

A license to drive drunk? Some small-town politicians think it's just the tonic for rural Ireland. Councilmen in County Kerry passed a motion this week asking the government to create a permit that would allow isolated farmers to drink a few pints before returning home by car, or on their tractor, without fear of being busted. Its backers say the measure is needed to combat an epidemic of boredom and depression on farms since Ireland imposed tough new blood-alcohol limits on drivers in 2011. Justice Minister Alan Shatter shot down the proposal during a speech in parliament Thursday as "grossly irresponsible."

EAST CHINA SEA: Taiwanese activists thwarted

Japanese Coast Guard vessels fired water cannons at a Taiwanese boat Thursday to keep a group of activists from landing on islands disputed by Japan and China. The United States has repeatedly said the chain, also claimed by Taiwan, falls under a mutual defense treaty with Japan, but says it takes no position on sovereignty.

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