World briefs (4/30/13)

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Somali famine toll 260,000

NAIROBI, Kenya -- The 2011 Somali famine killed an estimated 260,000 people, half of them age 5 and under, according to a new report to be published this week that more than doubles previous death toll estimates, officials told The Associated Press.

The aid community believes tens of thousands of people died needlessly because the international community was slow to respond to early signs of approaching hunger in East Africa in late 2010 and early 2011.

The toll was also exacerbated by extremist militants from al-Shabab who banned food aid deliveries to the areas of south-central Somalia that they controlled. Those same militants have also made the task of figuring out an accurate death toll extremely difficult.

The report is being made public Thursday by FEWSNET, a famine early warning system funded by the U.S. government's aid arm USAID, and by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit -- Somalia, which is funded by the U.S. and Britain.

Karzai affirms CIA cash

KABUL, Afghanistan -- President Hamid Karzai acknowledged Monday that the CIA has been dropping off bags of cash at his office for a decade, saying the money was used for "various purposes" and expressing gratitude to the United States for making the payments.

Mr. Karzai described the sums delivered by the CIA as a "small amount," though he offered few other details. But former and current advisers of the Afghan leader have said the CIA cash deliveries have totaled tens of millions of dollars over the past decade and have been used to pay off warlords, lawmakers and others whose support the Afghan leader depends upon.

No assisted-death right

DUBLIN -- A terminally ill woman in the final stages of multiple sclerosis does not have the right to an assisted death, the Irish Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Marie Fleming, 59, a former university lecturer, said she wanted to die peacefully at home at a time of her own choosing, but her condition had deteriorated to the extent that she would need help to do it. Her partner, Tom Curran, 65, has said he would assist her. Under Irish law, that would be illegal, and he would face up to 14 years in prison if convicted.

10 killed in ship collision

ATHENS, Greece -- At least 10 Syrian sailors were dead or missing after two cargo ships collided off the coast of the Peloponnese region in southwestern Greece early Monday, the Greek authorities said.

The Pirireis, a Cook Islands-flagged vessel carrying fertilizer, hit the Consouth, which was sailing under an Antigua-Barbuda flag without cargo, the Greek Merchant Marine Ministry said, adding the Pirireis sank in seven minutes.

The crew of the Consouth were all unharmed and were helping the Greek Coast Guard search for another eight sailors of the Pirireis who were missing. A Greek navy helicopter was helping scour the area.

Netanyahu on Iran nukes

JERUSALEM -- Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said Iran is steadily edging closer to nuclear weapons capability but has not yet reached the "red line" he drew in a speech to the United Nations last fall.

Mr. Netanyahu made his assessment as Israel took delivery of the fifth of six advanced submarines it has ordered from Germany. The "Dolphin" class vessels are believed to be capable of carrying missiles with nuclear warheads and could play an important role in any conflict between Israel and Iran.

In Iran, an influential former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. appeared to be trying to lower tensions with Israel, saying that his country is not at war with the Jewish state,

-- Compiled from news services

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