World briefs: Toll in Bangladesh building collapse exceeds 300

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SAVAR, Bangladesh -- Police in Bangladesh took six people into custody in connection with the collapse of a shoddily-constructed building that killed at least 348 people, as rescue workers admitted Saturday that voices of survivors are getting weaker after four days of being pinned under the increasingly unstable rubble.

Still, 29 survivors of Wednesday's collapse were pulled out Saturday, said army spokesman Shahinul Islam.

Among those arrested Saturday were two owners of a garment factory, who a Dhaka court ruled can be questioned by police for 12 days without charges being filed. Also detained are two government engineers and the wife of the building owner, who is on the run, in an attempt to force him to surrender. Late Saturday, police arrested another factory owner.

Coalition rule formed

ROME -- Ending a two-month political stalemate, Prime Minister-designate Enrico Letta formed a rare coalition government Saturday uniting left and right -- and including a record number of women and Italy's first nonwhite minister -- to steer the eurozone's third-largest economy out of the doldrums.

For finance minister, Mr. Letta chose Fabrizio Saccomanni, who as director general of the Bank of Italy worked closely under Mario Draghi, now the president of the European Central Bank. For foreign minister, he named Emma Bonino, a former member of the European Parliament and a Radical Party member known for her independent streak.

Drone use protested

LONDON -- Anti-war activists demonstrated Saturday outside a Royal Air Force base used to control drone flights over Afghanistan.

Until this past week, British drones were operated only from a U.S. Air Force base in Nevada. The Ministry of Defense announced Thursday that a new drone-operating squadron had begun operating from RAF Waddington in eastern England.

Tycoon forms party

SYDNEY, Australia -- An Australian billionaire who is perhaps best known for his efforts to build a seaworthy replica of the Titanic says he will use his vast fortune to form a new political party to compete in federal elections scheduled for September.

The tycoon, Clive Palmer, had been a major financial supporter of the conservative Liberal-National Party, from which he resigned last year amid quarrels about his political aspirations. Mr. Palmer says his newly minted United Australia Party, which he announced at a news conference Friday, will be a serious challenger rather than a vanity project.

Also in the world ...

Employees at seven prisons in Canada's Alberta province walked off the job Friday to protest the suspension of one of their colleague who complained about safety issues. ... A NATO plane crash in southern Afghanistan killed four international troops Saturday, the same day the Taliban announced its spring offensive and said they will target military and diplomatic sites with suicide bombers and infiltrate enemy forces to conduct deadly insider attacks. ... A Boeing 787 operated by Ethiopian Airlines flew from Ethiopia to Kenya Saturday, the first commercial flight since air safety authorities grounded the Dreamliners after incidents with smoldering batteries on two different planes in January. ... Rebels from the Darfur region in Sudan on Saturday attacked a town in a neighboring state about 300 miles southwest of Khartoum, the capital, in one of their boldest offensives in years.

-- Compiled from news services

ROME -- Ending a two-month political stalemate, Prime Minister-designate Enrico Letta formed a rare coalition government Saturday uniting left and right -- and including a record number of women and Italy's first nonwhite minister -- to steer the eurozone's third-largest economy out of the doldrums.

For finance minister, Mr. Letta chose Fabrizio Saccomanni, who as director general of the Bank of Italy worked closely under Mario Draghi, now the president of the European Central Bank. For foreign minister, he named Emma Bonino, a former member of the European Parliament and a Radical Party member known for her independent streak.

Drone use protested

LONDON -- Anti-war activists demonstrated Saturday outside a Royal Air Force base used to control drone flights over Afghanistan.

Until this past week, British drones were operated only from a U.S. Air Force base in Nevada. The Ministry of Defense announced Thursday that a new drone-operating squadron had begun operating from RAF Waddington in eastern England.

Tycoon forms party

SYDNEY, Australia -- An Australian billionaire who is perhaps best known for his efforts to build a seaworthy replica of the Titanic says he will use his vast fortune to form a new political party to compete in federal elections scheduled for September.

The tycoon, Clive Palmer, had been a major financial supporter of the conservative Liberal-National Party, from which he resigned last year amid quarrels about his political aspirations. Mr. Palmer says his newly minted United Australia Party, which he announced at a news conference Friday, will be a serious challenger rather than a vanity project.

Darfur rebels' attack

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Rebels from the Darfur region in Sudan on Saturday attacked a town in a neighboring state about 300 miles southwest of Khartoum, the capital, in one of their boldest offensives in years.

Fighters with the Justice and Equality Movement attacked the town of Umm Ruwaba in North Kordofan State, which lies between Darfur to the west and Khartoum to the northeast. The assault is a rare venture outside Darfur and South Kordofan State for the rebels.

Prison strike in Canada

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Employees at seven prisons in Canada's Alberta province have walked off the job to protest the suspension of a colleague who complained about safety issues.

The Alberta labor board ruled Saturday that the strike is illegal for two of the detention centers and ordered those workers to return to their posts, said Bill Dechant, a spokesman for the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents jail guards. Mr. Dechant said the union will ask its members if they want to comply with the order.

It wasn't immediately clear what would happen at the other facilities involved in the strike.

Also in the world ...

A NATO plane crash in southern Afghanistan killed four international troops Saturday, the same day the Taliban announced its spring offensive and said they will target military and diplomatic sites with suicide bombers and infiltrate enemy forces to conduct deadly insider attacks. ... A Boeing 787 operated by Ethiopian Airlines flew from Ethiopia to Kenya Saturday, the first commercial flight since air safety authorities grounded the Dreamliners after incidents with smoldering batteries on two different planes in January.

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