World Briefs: Panel to review 'Cuban twitter'

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WASHINGTON -- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked the U.S. Agency for International Development on Thursday to turn over all records about the Obama administration's secret Cuban twitter program as part of a broader review of the agency's civil-society efforts worldwide.

The request included copies of messages the U.S. government or its contractors transmitted to subscribers in Cuba, who never were told about Washington's role in the primitive, text message-based cellphone service that was meant to undermine Cuba's communist government.

Possible signal from plane

PERTH, Australia -- For the fifth time in recent days, an underwater sensor detected a signal in the same swath of the southern Indian Ocean on Thursday, raising hopes that searchers are closing in on what could be a flight recorder from the missing Malaysian jet.

An Australian Air Force P-3 Orion, which has been dropping sonar buoys into the water near where four sounds were heard earlier, picked up a "possible signal" that may be from a man-made source, said Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search for Flight 370 off Australia's west coast.

If confirmed, the signal would further narrow the hunt for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, which vanished March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.

Prosecutor mocks Pistorius

PRETORIA, South Africa -- The chief prosecutor laughed scornfully at an answer from Oscar Pistorius during the Olympic athlete's murder trial Thursday, mocking the man who shot his girlfriend.

The judge sternly instructed the prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, to restrain himself, and he apologized -- then went right back to trying to pick holes in the testimony of the double-amputee runner.

It was a harsh day of cross-examination for Mr. Pistorius, challenged relentlessly about his account of the moments just before he killed Reeva Steenkamp, as well as circumstances related to several firearms charges against him, including the firing of a gun in a crowded restaurant.

India's capital votes

NEW DELHI -- Voters in India's capital headed to polling booths Thursday in the third phase of the biggest election in world history, with Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party set to win the most seats and grab power y.

About 13 million voters spread across seven constituencies in Delhi were to elect representatives along with voters in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Orissa and Kerala. Ninety-two seats were to be Thursday, although results from all 543 constituencies will be announced together on May 16.

Mr. Modi's opposition BJP leads in opinion polls as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Congress Party has seen its popularity fall due to graft cases, Asia's second-fastest inflation and slowing economic growth.

Hagel gets gift horse

ULAABATTAR, Mongolia -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was gifted a 9-year-old horse during a visit to Mongolia, where he pledged the U.S. would continue aiding the country's military modernization.

Mr. Hagel is the first Pentagon chief to visit Mongolia in nine years.

He met in Ulaanbaatar with Defense Minister Bat-Erdene Dashdemberel and Prime Minister Altankhuyag Norov, and the two countries signed a statement pledging U.S. assistance for the land-locked nation's efforts to upgrade its armed forces.

-- Compiled from news services


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