Austria: Hostage deadline
VIENNA, Austria An ultimatum set by Islamist militants holding two Austrian hostages expired Sunday with no official word from the captors. Austrian authorities said earlier that they believed they had more time to pursue the pair's release.
Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa had given authorities until midnight to release some of its members in jails in Tunisia and Algeria in exchange for Wolfgang Ebner and Andrea Kloiber. The couple disappeared while on vacation in Tunisia last month.
Several hours before the deadline expired, Foreign Ministry spokesman Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal said a crisis management team handling efforts to release the couple had concluded that more time was available to pursue their efforts.
Iraq: Iran shells Kurdish rebels
BAGHDAD Iranian artillery shelled three border towns Sunday in northern Iraq where Iranian Kurdish rebels are believed to be operating, an Iraqi Kurdish official said.
The shelling hit the towns of Marado, Razda and Dolakoka and lasted for about two hours, said Azad Watho, a top administrative official in Sulaimaniyah city.
Pakistan: Fuel trucks destroyed
PESHAWAR Twenty-five trucks carrying fuel to U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan have been destroyed in a possible bomb attack on the Pakistani border. Officials say that dozen of people have been injured.
Mohammed Sadiq Khan, a local government official, said that the explosions and blaze occurred on the Pakistani side of the Torkham customs post late Sunday. At least 50 people were injured, eight of them seriously.
Puerto Rico: Arson suspected
SAN JUAN Arsonists appear to be responsible for three fires over the last week that damaged nature reserves in southwestern Puerto Rico, U.S. investigators said Sunday.
Authorities have ruled out spontaneous or accidental causes for the fires inside the two U.S.-administered reserves in Lajas and Cabo Rojo which are both habitats for the endangered mariquita bird.
Separate fires that began Friday and Saturday nights inside the forest reserve in Cabo Rojo have burned about 12 acres, said Susan Silander of the federal agency's office in San Juan. Firefighters were still battling one of the blazes this afternoon.
Puerto Rico: Broken coral
SAN JUAN Unusually large waves churned by an Atlantic storm system have littered the beaches of Barbados with broken coral in what could be a sign of damage to reefs across the region, a scientist said Sunday.
The amount of rubble on the island's west coast suggests the coral took a heavy pounding, said Leo Brewster, director of Barbados' Coastal Zone Management Unit, who was organizing dives later this week to survey the damage.
Zimbabwe: Rigged voting?
HARARE Zimbabwe's main opposition party accused the government on Sunday of printing more than 3 million excess paper ballots for the coming presidential election and accused longtime leader Robert Mugabe of attempting to rig the voting.
Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change, said leaked documents from government printers showed 9 million ballot papers were ordered for the 5.9 million people registered to vote in the presidential election on March 29. Legislative elections are taking place the same day.