World briefs: U.N. boosts its African forces

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UNITED NATIONS -- The Security Council unanimously approved a new U.N. peacekeeping force for Mali on Thursday to help restore democracy and stabilize the northern half of the country, which was controlled by Islamist jihadists until a France-led military operation ousted them three months ago.

The resolution authorizes the deployment of a U.N. force comprising 11,200 military personnel and 1,440 international police with a mandate to help restore peace, especially in northern cities. The U.N. peacekeepers are not authorized to undertake offensive military operations or chase terrorists in the desert, roles that will continue to be carried out by France under an agreement with Mali.

The U.N. Security Council also voted unanimously Thursday to keep a U.N. peacekeeping force in Western Sahara for another year, but without a mandate that the United States had sought to monitor human rights in the disputed territory.

Putin urges ties with U.S.

MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin urged closer cooperation with the U.S. in combating terrorism after the Boston bombings in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, two ethnic Chechen immigrants from Russia, are the suspects.

"I am simply appealing for this tragedy to bring us together in fighting common threats, of which one of the most important and dangerous is terrorism," Mr. Putin said in a nationwide live call-in show today. "If we really unite, we won't allow these strikes to happen and suffer such losses."

Both Koreas trade threats

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korean generals Thursday declared that their forces were ready to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles and kamikaze-like nuclear attacks at the United States if threatened.

Threats to launch nuclear strikes and warnings of "nuclear holocaust" have become common since the country's latest nuclear test, its third, in February.

Earlier Thursday, South Korea said it was giving the North until today to respond to its proposal for dialogue about the two countries' joint industrial park or face a "grave measure" by the South.

Death of 'Prisoner X'

JERUSALEM -- On the day he hanged himself in the shower of his solitary cell in 2010, the Australian-born Israeli spy known as Prisoner X was taking anti-anxiety medication at the time and told social workers that he had twice before attempted suicide and once cut his own hand.

These new details in the mysterious case of Benjamin Zygier were revealed Thursday in an investigative report by a judge, Daphna Blatman Kedrai, who said there was evidence "to charge elements in the prison service for causing the death."

But Israel's chief prosecutor, Moshe Lador, announced Thursday that there would be no indictments.

Photographer found dead

MEXICO CITY -- The hacked-up bodies of a photojournalist and another young man have been found in the northern Mexico city of Saltillo, authorities said Thursday.

Photographer Daniel Martinez Bazaldua, 22, had recently been hired to cover social events for Vanguardia. Officials identified the other man as Julian Zamora, 23.

Saltillo is in northern Coahuila state, an area where the Zetas drug cartel is active. Another Coahuila newspaper recently announced it would no longer publish stories about drug gangs.

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