World briefs: Russia linked to weapons

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MOSCOW -- Escalating a confrontation with Russia, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Russian military equipment and ammunition bound for Syria's Defense Ministry had been confiscated from a Syrian civilian jetliner on a Moscow-to-Damascus flight, which was forced to land in Ankara on suspicion of illicitly carrying war material.

The accusation further inflamed Turkey's difficult relationship with Syria, where an uprising against President Bashar Assad has expanded into a civil war that is threatening the stability of the Middle East.

Mr. Erdogan's accusation came only hours after the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the Turks of illegally searching the plane and demanded an explanation.

Drone strike kills militants

PARACHINAR, Pakistan -- U.S. drones fired four missiles at a compound of a Pakistani militant commander Thursday, killing 16 militants, while a pair of bombings in another part of the country killed 10 civilians and three security personnel.

A government administrator said 12 insurgents were also wounded in the drone attack near Biland bordering the North Waziristan tribal region. The casualties were said to be fighters loyal to Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who is based in North Waziristan.

Top prosecutor removed

CAIRO -- Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi removed the country's top public prosecutor after the acquittal of several people charged with responsibility for the deaths of protesters during last year's uprising.

Prosecutor Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud was reappointed as ambassador to the Vatican, the official Middle East News Agency reported late Wednesday, without saying who will replace him.

Legion of Christ changes

VATICAN CITY -- The superior general of the troubled Legion of Christ religious order has stepped aside, saying he doesn't have the energy to oversee the radical reform of the congregation ordered by the Vatican.

The Rev. Alvaro Corcuera said in a letter obtained Thursday that his vicar general, the Rev. Sylvester Heereman, 38, would govern the order until a planned general assembly in 2013 or 2014 to elect a new superior. Father Corcuera will retain his title, but no longer run the Legion.

Abortion clinic opens

DUBLIN -- A family planning charity plans to open the first abortion clinic in Ireland, challenging decades of legal confusion over the extremely limited access to pregnancy terminations in both parts of the island.

Officials at the facility in Belfast, capital of the British territory of Northern Ireland, said Thursday they plan to offer nonsurgical abortions to women whose pregnancies are less than nine weeks in gestation. Women will receive medication that causes a miscarriage only if doctors determine that continued pregnancy would jeopardize their physical or mental health.

Dispute over seafood

PARIS -- A bumper season for the French national dish of Coquilles St. Jacques has turned into a bitter dispute in the English Channel, as French fishermen angry over British expansion into their waters surrounded British boats in a show of maritime force.

About 40 French boats encircled a handful of British fishing vessels about 10 miles off the French coast Monday, hurling insults and -- according to the British -- stones to protest what they saw as rampant overfishing. French fishermen say they're upset that the British aren't bound by the same rules when it comes to fishing for scallops and so can cross the channel and scoop up a catch forbidden to the French.

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