World briefs: Two end hunger strike in Israel

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JERUSALEM -- Two Palestinian prisoners held by Israel have ended their hunger strike of nearly three months and two other hunger strikers have been hospitalized, an Israeli official said Thursday.

The prisoners who ended their fast did so because an Israeli military prosecutor told them that he would not seek to extend their detention at a hearing next week, said their lawyer, Jawad Boulous.

The two prisoners, Tarek Qaadan and Jafar Ezzeldeen, are being held without charges or trial, in so-called administrative detention. This means their detention can be extended repeatedly.

Also Thursday, Israel's Health Ministry issued an update on the autopsy of a Palestinian man who died in Israeli custody over the weekend, but said it could still not determine the cause of death.

Thais, insurgents to meet

NEW DELHI -- The Thai government agreed Thursday to hold its first formal talks with Muslim rebels operating along the country's southern border, a potential breakthrough in a conflict that has claimed more than 5,000 lives since 2004.

The four-paragraph deal, brokered by Malaysia and signed in Kuala Lumpur between the Thai government and one of the principal insurgent groups known as the National Revolution Front, says security will be provided for working group members who are willing to enter a peace dialogue and respect different viewpoints on the other side.

Talks are scheduled to begin in mid-March.

Fatal clashes in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Bangladesh's war crimes tribunal on Thursday sentenced a senior member of the country's biggest Islamic party to death, sparking fatal violence nationwide.

A panel of judges found Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee guilty of committing crimes against humanity during Bangladesh's independence struggle in 1971, Syed Haider Ali, a prosecutor, said in comments on live television.

The tribunal's first verdict since protesters began occupying a Dhaka square to demand capital punishment for the guilty was followed by clashes between activists of Jamaat and security forces, which the Daily Star newspaper reported, left as many as 13 people dead, three of them policemen.

Tibetan activists arrested

BEIJING -- Security officials in the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu have arrested five Tibetans and accused them of inciting a series of self-immolations late last year by convincing participants that they would become heroes in death, state news media reported. Four of those detained were Buddhist monks, who police say were guided by a Tibetan exile organization.

The arrests, announced Wednesday by Xinhua, the state news agency, are part of an increasingly desperate government campaign to stop the spate of suicidal protests through intimidation, jail time and rewards for those who cooperate with police.

One hundred seven people have set themselves on fire since 2009.

India tries to woo investors

NEW DELHI -- Trying to rekindle the fire of India's economy, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram promised Thursday to rein in a runaway deficit even as he raised spending on welfare schemes that the government hopes will woo voters in elections scheduled for next year.

In comments that appeared aimed at global investors who have become disenchanted with India's potential as growth has slowed, Mr. Chidambaram, presenting the 2013-2014 budget, told Parliament that "foreign investment is an imperative." Thursday's budget comes at a time of plummeting business confidence,

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