World briefs: PLO, Hamas leaders meet

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JERUSALEM -- President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority met Wednesday in Cairo with Khaled Meshal, the political chief of Mr. Abbas' rival, Hamas, but it was unclear if they were able to overcome any of the differences that have fueled a five-year feud.

The two were invited to Cairo by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who first met each separately as he tried to broker a reconciliation.

Since their 2007 split, Mr. Abbas' Fatah faction, which dominates in the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, have signed four reconciliation agreements that have failed to come to fruition.

Truckers go on strike

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Truckers who carry supplies to NATO troops in Afghanistan have gone on strike in northwest Pakistan to protest lower pay, inadequate security and corrupt officials who demand bribes from the truckers, officials said Wednesday.

The supply route is an important lifeline for international forces in landlocked Afghanistan. The coalition ships a significant portion of its nonlethal supplies through Pakistan into southern Afghanistan. The other land route into Afghanistan through Central Asia and Russia is longer and more expensive.

8 die in Mideast storm

AMMAN, Jordan -- The fiercest winter storm to hit the Mideast in years brought a rare foot of snow to Jordan on Wednesday, caused fatal accidents in Lebanon and the West Bank, and disrupted traffic on the Suez Canal in Egypt. At least eight people died across the region.

The unusual weather over the past few days hit vulnerable Syrian refugees living in tent camps very hard, particularly some 50,000 sheltering in the Zaatari camp in Jordan.

Dogs blamed for deaths

MEXICO CITY -- A 15-year-old girl found fatally bitten by dogs outside a Mexico City park in mid-December may have been the first victim of a feral pack suspected of killing at least four other people over the last month, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Authorities began capturing dogs in the park this week after a mother and her infant boy were found dead and covered in dog bites on Dec. 29 and the bodies of a teenage couple were found covered in fatal bites from as many as 10 dogs.

Saudis execute woman

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Rizan Nafeek, a Sri Lankan woman who was employed as a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia, was beheaded by Saudi authorities on Wednesday after she was accused of murdering an infant in her charge in 2005 and then sentenced to death in a case that the Sri Lankan government and human rights groups said was flawed.

Human Rights Watch, which had urged the Saudi government to halt the execution, said that she should have been treated as a minor in Saudi Arabia's judicial system because she was 17 at the time of her arrest. It also questioned whether she had been given a fair trial. Though she was arrested in 2005, she did not have access to legal counsel until after a court sentenced her to death in 2007.

Deadly ride on ski slope

MOSCOW -- It was supposed to be a thrilling ride down a ski slope inside a giant inflatable ball that is to be one of the symbols of next year's Winter Olympics; it ended in tragedy for the two Russian men inside.

A transparent plastic ball -- known as a zorb -- sailed over a rock ledge in the rugged Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia, killing one man and injuring the other.



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