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World briefs for Wednesday, Feb. 17

BELGIUM

Train's black box found

Search teams located one black box Tuesday from the two trains that slammed into each other near Brussels, a find that could help explain the tragedy that killed 18 people and injured 171. One train driver survived with injuries but was not healthy enough yet to be questioned, rail officials said. The Eurostar and Thalys high-speed trains from London and Paris to Brussels suspended service for a third day Wednesday and other train drivers held a wildcat strike Tuesday that left thousands of commuters without their normal transport. European Commission officials said the track near the Buizingen station lacked the latest automatic braking system to stop trains after they pass through a red signal. A National Railways spokesman described the wreck as a lateral collision, contradicting initial reports that the trains smashed head-on. One train apparently was diverting to another track when it was hit by the second.

LEBANON

Hezbollah threatens Israel

Hezbollah's leader warned Israel Tuesday that the militant group would fire rockets at Tel Aviv airport if Israel's military strikes Lebanese infrastructure. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war in 2006, and in recent months the two sides have exchanged tough words of warning. The new threat is backed up by what Hezbollah says is an arsenal of thousands of rockets and missiles, some of which it says can reach anywhere in Israel. Hassan Nasrallah said rockets would also target buildings in seaside Tel Aviv if Israeli warplanes strike buildings in Hezbollah's stronghold in Beirut's southern outskirts.

NORTH KOREA

'Peerless leader' turns 68

The 68th birthday of "peerlessly brilliant" leader Kim Jong Il was celebrated Tuesday as questions persist abroad about his health and the future of the impoverished, nuclear-armed nation. Depressed and chronically ill, Kim relies on rare, costly and sometimes outlawed remedies such as rhino's horn and the bile of bear gall bladder, one South Korean official told The Associated Press.

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