Britain: Tougher on terror

LONDON — British lawmakers have voted to back tougher terror laws that will allow police to hold suspected terrorists for up to six weeks before charges are filed.

Legislators voted 315 to 306 in favor of the plans on Wednesday. The vote followed months of debate.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said police need more time to unravel increasingly sophisticated terror plots.

China: Talks with Taiwan

BEIJING — Negotiators from Taiwan and China opened their first formal talks in almost a decade on Thursday, aiming to forge an agreement on expanded charter flights as a step toward restoring transport links severed 59 years ago.

Taiwan's delegation also planned to discuss what additional help the island could provide for China's earthquake relief efforts. The talks are scheduled to run through Friday at a state guesthouse in western Beijing.

Cuba: Salary caps eased

HAVANA — The egalitarian wage system Fidel Castro spent decades building in Cuba is no longer viable, plagued by low pay, corruption and waste that can be eased by paying workers more for better work, a top labor official said in an interview published Wednesday.

Carlos Mateu, a vice minister of labor and social security, said many government companies have already eliminated caps on salaries for productive workers and the rest must do so by August.

Iraq: Bomb kills 5 in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — A bomb planted near a bridge in northern Baghdad killed five people on passing minibuses during rush hour Wednesday, Iraqi police said.

A woman and a 7-year-old boy were among the dead, and at least 10 other people were wounded in the mostly Shiite neighborhood of Hurriyah, an officer said on condition of anonymity due to security concerns.

Across town, two mortar rounds hit a busy street in the central Baghdad area of Karrada, killing a civilian and wounding five others, police said.

Panama: 6 tons of cocaine

PANAMA CITY — Panamanian authorities say they have seized 6 tons of cocaine on three boats off a Pacific island.

Prosecutor Edwin Guardia says it is the biggest drug seizure this year in Panama. The country is a key transit point for drug trafficking from Colombia to the United States and Europe.

Security forces found the cocaine in 273 packets Monday on board three boats off Coiba island. Police were searching for 15 people who escaped the raid.

Spain: Truckers targeted

MADRID — Spain got tough Wednesday with striking truckers who have disrupted food and fuel supplies, deploying riot police to lift blockades of a border crossing with France and a major highway outside Madrid and making dozens of arrests.

But unions representing the strikers vowed to press on, rejecting a package of measures presented by the government to end the three-day nationwide protests over rising fuel prices.