World briefs: Syrian rebels near airport

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BEIRUT -- Syrian rebels knocked down army defenses and moved in on the country's second largest airport Wednesday, reportedly killing more than 40 soldiers and bringing them closer to what could be their biggest conquest since the beginning of the civil war.

Control of Aleppo international airport and a military air base next to it would be a huge strategic shift for Syria's northeastern region, giving the opposition a potential air hub enabling aid and other flights.

Still, activists said it could be days before the rebels would be able to push their way into the airport, 4 miles from the contested city center, and even then, it was unclear whether they would be able to retain control of the sprawling facility for long. The country's air space is firmly controlled by the government, which uses its warplanes indiscriminately to bomb rebel strongholds.

Monk self-immolates

NEW DELHI -- A Tibetan man walked onto a street Wednesday morning in Katmandu, the capital of Nepal, poured gasoline over his body and set himself on fire.

Engulfed in flames, and writhing in pain, the monk became the latest Tibetan to self-immolate as part of a protest campaign against Chinese rule in Tibet.

In Nepal, a small Himalayan nation that is home to thousands of Tibetan exiles, authorities said the monk was hospitalized in critical condition.

Jobless man kills self

PARIS -- A jobless French man fatally set himself on fire Wednesday in front of an unemployment bureau in the western city of Nantes.

The 43-year-old man, who no longer was receiving welfare, was protesting over the agency's demand that he repay a sum of money he received to which he was not entitled, a manager at the state Pole Emploi agency told French radio.

The manager, Jean-Charles Steyger, said the agency had offered to meet with the man after he warned he would set himself on fire inside the employment office.

Neo-Nazi march blocked

DRESDEN, Germany -- More than 10,000 German anti-fascist activists massed Wednesday to block a neo-Nazi march in Dresden on the anniversary of the city's World War II bombing in 1945.

The activists formed a human cordon around the old inner city in an attempt to prevent the scheduled neo-Nazi rallies in Dresden's historic center. Police estimated there were between 800 and 1,200 neo-Nazis in the city.

Commemorative events were conducted for war victims in the eastern city, which was destroyed in 1945, and the millions killed worldwide, including in Dresden's British sister city of Coventry.

6 arrests in hacking probe

LONDON -- British police announced the arrest of six journalists on suspicion of phone hacking Wednesday in a new probe targeting a now-closed tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Authorities have identified "a further suspected conspiracy to intercept telephone voicemails by a number of employees who worked for the now defunct News of the World newspaper," said a Scotland Yard statement. The journalists who were not named have been detained "on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept telephone communications."

All had worked for the News of the World, which was closed after revelations of phone hacking in July 2011. The newspaper was owned by News International, the British branch of News Corp. Two of those under investigation now work for the Sun, a Murdoch-owned daily tabloid.

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