Israel: Festivities marred

JERUSALEM — A clash between Arab protesters and police, and a paratrooper's crash-landing during a ceremonial jump marred Israel's 60th independence day festivities Thursday.

The paratrooper and two bystanders were seriously hurt when he missed his target on a Tel Aviv beach and slammed into a crowd of spectators. Several others were slightly hurt.

Later, 11 police and protesters were injured during a march by Israeli Arabs marking the flip side of independence day for Arabs — the "nakba," or "catastrophe," when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were uprooted in the 1948 war over Israel's creation.

The march highlighted the tensions between Israel's Jewish majority and Arab minority.

Israel: Olmert might step down

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert denied fresh accusations that he illegally accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from a U.S. citizen but said Thursday night that he will step down if he is indicted.

The latest investigation into corruption allegations involving Olmert has distracted Israel for nearly a week and has the potential to derail delicate peace talks with the Palestinians.

Olmert made his statement in a nationally televised speech from his official residence after a court lifted a gag order in the case. According to police suspicions, Olmert took hundreds of thousands of dollars in illicit contributions from Jewish businessman Morris "Moshe" Talansky.

Italy: Berlusconi sworn in

ROME — Silvio Berlusconi was sworn in as premier Thursday, heading up an Italian government for the third time after his conservatives swept elections last month.

The 71-year-old media magnate and his Cabinet ministers read the oath of office in the ornate presidential Quirinal Palace. Berlusconi signed the oath in front of Italy's head of state, President Giorgio Napolitano.

Spain: Shipwreck booty claim

MADRID — Spain formally laid claim Thursday to a shipwreck that yielded a $500 million treasure, saying it has proof the vessel was Spanish.

Officials demanded the return of the booty recovered last year by a U.S. deep-sea exploration firm, saying the 19th-century shipwreck at the heart of the dispute is the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes — a Spanish warship sunk by the British navy southwest of Portugal in 1804 with more than 200 people on board.

Odyssey Marine Exploration, based in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday disputed Spain's claim.

Vietnam: 3 face terrorism trial

HANOI — A Vietnamese-American and two Vietnamese nationals will be put on trial on charges of terrorism, accused of planning to distribute anti-government pamphlets in Vietnam, an official said Thursday.

Nguyen Quoc Quan, of Sacramento, and Vietnamese nationals Nguyen Hai and Nguyen The Vu face jail terms of up to seven years if convicted. Their trial begins Tuesday at the People's Court in Ho Chi Minh City, Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung said.