Mexico protests border killing

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SAN DIEGO -- The Mexican government on Thursday condemned a U.S. Border Patrol agent's fatal shooting of a Mexican man who allegedly struck the agent in the head with a rock near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said in a statement that it was "profoundly concerned" about the killing of Jesus Flores Cruz, 41, near San Diego. The department said lethal force should be avoided in immigration enforcement.

The unidentified agent fired his gun Tuesday after Mr. Flores Cruz hurled several large rocks, including one about the size of a basketball, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Work resumes on canal

PANAMA CITY -- Work on the planned expansion of the Panama Canal was set to resume Thursday after the construction consortium and the canal authorities reached a preliminary accord to pay suppliers and put an end to their dispute over $1.6 billion of cost overruns.

The work was suspended earlier this month because of the cost issue, threatening a project scheduled for completion in 2015 and designed to increase global maritime trade by allowing larger container vessels and liquefied gas tankers to travel the 50-mile canal.

Airstrike kills militants

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistani fighter jets pounded Taliban hide-outs in the country's northwestern tribal regions in overnight raids into Thursday, and security officials said at least 35 people suspected of being militants, including several foreign fighters, had been killed.

The strikes came just days after the suspension of peace talks between the government and Taliban representatives. On Monday, the government said it could not go ahead with the talks unless the militants announced a cease-fire and stopped their attacks on security forces.

Journalists on trial

CAIRO -- Three Al-Jazeera English-speaking journalists charged with running a terrorist cell out of a luxurious Cairo hotel appeared in court for the first time Thursday, offering during two recesses detailed descriptions of their 54 days in jail, saying that they'd been denied outside information and allowed only limited exercise and that the prison system has become a breeding ground for militants.

No details about the case against them were presented in court, and the proceeding was adjourned until March 5.

The journalists, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohammed, have been held since Dec. 29.

Nigeria fires bank chief

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Nigeria's president on Thursday ousted the Central Bank governor who exposed billions of missing petrodollars, a move critics say is a warning to whistleblowers in the run-up to a hotly contested presidential election in Africa's biggest oil producer.

President Goodluck Jonathan accused internationally respected career banker Lamido Sanusi of "financial recklessness and misconduct."

Editor wins round one

LONDON -- Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks was acquitted Thursday of one charge at Britain's phone hacking trial as she began her defense against four more.

Judge John Saunders ruled that there was "no case for Mrs. Brooks to answer" to a charge that she illegally paid an official for a picture of Prince William in a bikini.

-- Compiled from news services

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