Awad Awad,AFP/Getty Images
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the 11th session of the Islamic Conference summit.

Senegal: 'Ethnic cleansing'

DAKAR — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of implementing policies he claimed were part of an "ethnic cleansing" campaign in the Palestinian areas of Jerusalem.

Speaking at a summit of Islamic countries in the Senegalese capital Dakar, Abbas said Israel had carried out policies designed to force Palestinians out of the city.

Abbas said Palestinians "are facing a campaign of annihilation" by the Israeli state.

Britain: $1M to fight Alzheimer's

LONDON — British novelist Terry Pratchett said Thursday he will donate $1 million to fund research into Alzheimer's disease, the incurable illness he was diagnosed with last year.

The best-selling fantasy writer announced in December that he has early-onset Alzheimer's, a rare form of the disease that strikes before age 65. Pratchett is 59.

Canada: Afghan stay extended

TORONTO — Parliament voted Thursday to extend Canada's mission in Afghanistan to 2011, provided NATO supplies more troops and equipment to back up its forces in the volatile south.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has been under growing pressure to withdraw Canada's 2,500 troops as the death toll has mounted. The mission was set to expire in February 2009.

Egypt: Abductors set deadline

CAIRO — Al-Qaida's branch for North Africa on Thursday set a three-day deadline to meet conditions for the release of two Austrian tourists it claimed to have kidnapped in Tunisia last month.

In a statement posted on the Internet, al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa said it would free the pair if all of the group's members were released from jails in Tunisia and Algeria.

Germany: AI pioneer dies

BERLIN — Joseph Weizenbaum, a computer programmer who helped advance artificial intelligence only to become a critic of the technology later in his life, has died. He was 85.

Weizenbaum died March 5 of complications from stomach cancer at a daughter's home in Groeben, just outside the German capital, Miriam Weizenbaum, one of his four daughters, said Thursday.

Nicaragua: Iran will build dam

MANAGUA — Iran will build a hydroelectric dam in northern Nicaragua, despite U.S. reservations, the energy minister said Thursday.

A state-owned Iranian company will build the $230 million Bodoke project on the Tuma River in the Jinotega province with financing by Iran's export bank, Energy Minister Emilio Rappaccioli told Nicaragua's Channel 2 on Thursday.

U.N.: Progress on N. Korea

GENEVA — The top U.S. nuclear negotiator on North Korea said the two sides made progress in their stalled nuclear talks on Thursday but were still short of an agreement.

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters that the talks in Geneva were probably the most substantive that Washington has had with North Korea since problems developed in December.

Turkey: No access to YouTube

ISTANBUL — Turkey blocked access to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube on Thursday in response to a video clip deemed insulting to the country's revered founding father, state-run media said.

A court in the capital of Ankara ordered the ban at the request of a prosecutor who had argued the clip was disrespectful to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.