World Briefs / Kerry sees Mideast hope

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TEL AVIV, Israel -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry completed a new round of shuttle diplomacy Sunday without a hoped-for breakthrough in relaunching Mideast peace talks, but optimistically said he had narrowed the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians and vowed to return to the region soon to complete his mission.

Mr. Kerry said he was working on an emerging "package" meant to bring the sides together, and said he would leave a team of aides in the region to continue the efforts.

It was not clear how much progress Mr. Kerry had truly made. He refused to provide details of the package he is working on, and Israeli and Palestinian officials, at Mr. Kerry's request, remained mum.

Mr. Kerry was on his fifth visit to the region since taking office early this year. Starting Thursday night, he held three meetings each with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu.

Dozens killed in Pakistan

QUETTA, Pakistan -- Bombings killed 49 people in three different areas of Pakistan on Sunday, just as Britain's prime minister was in the capital pledging to help to fight extremism.

In the deadliest of the attacks, twin blasts near a Shiite Muslim mosque in Quetta, the capital of southwest Baluchistan province, killed at least 28 people, police said.

Radical Sunni Muslims have stepped up attacks in the past two years against minority Shiites, whom they consider to be heretics.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, that Britain would do all it can to help fight extremism.

U.S. deaths in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The shift to Afghan security forces leading in combat and the ongoing reduction of U.S. troops here drove American combat deaths to their lowest number in five years for the first half of 2013.

In the first six months of the year, 72 Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan, according to iCasualties.org., a website that tracks military deaths. The last year when the number of dead was for the comparable period was 2008. Then, 66 Americans died from January through June, and 155 were killed in the full year. The worst year for U.S. troops was 2010, when 499 Americans died. Fatalities have totaled more than 2,200 since the Afghan war began in 2001.

Chad ex-leader arrested

DAKAR, Senegal -- The former president of Chad, Hissene Habre, who is accused of the killing and torture of thousands of opponents, was arrested here Sunday by the Senegalese police, said the organization Human Rights Watch.

Victims of Habre's brutal eight-year reign in the 1980s have been fighting for more than two decades to bring him to justice, and Sunday's arrest was hailed as a decisive step by human rights advocates.

Protests target Rio match

RIO DE JANEIRO -- More than 5,000 anti-government protesters marched Sunday near the Maracana football stadium before a major international match, venting their anger about the billions of dollars the Brazilian government is spending on major sporting events rather than public services.

Though smaller in size, the march was the latest in a wave of protests that has spread across this continent-sized country in recent weeks.

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