Associated Press
The Princes of Stars floats upside down off Sibuyan island Monday.

Philippines: Ferry search plans

MANILA — Two teams of rescuers prepared Monday to dive into typhoon-roiled waters off the Philippines to find a way inside a capsized ferry in a desperate effort to locate some 800 people believed to be aboard.

If today's planned underwater missions fail, a tugboat will be on standby with gear to cut through the ferry's hull as a last resort — a prospect complicated by a cargo of bunker oil that could leak and turn the human disaster into an environmental one.

Experts were studying the ferry's schematics in case they have to drill the access hole.

Hundreds of people are feared to have been trapped when the ship suddenly tilted and went belly up Saturday at the height of the powerful storm that left 163 people dead in flooded communities in the central Philippines.

Afghanistan: 55 militants killed

KABUL — U.S.-led forces rained fire for two days on militants near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan, officials said Monday, killing about 55 insurgents and underscoring how fighting with Taliban insurgents is escalating.

The battle in eastern Paktika province was the second in the past week to reportedly inflict major casualties on militants, whom Afghan officials insist are swarming in from strongholds in Pakistan.

Pakistan's government on Monday reiterated an offer to fence the craggy, 1,500-mile frontier — a project begun but abandoned last year amid criticism that it would only enrage the tribes who straddle the frontier and among whom the Taliban find many recruits.

France: Klaus Grueber dies

QUIMPER — Klaus Michael Grueber, a German opera and theater director renowned for lyric elegance, has died in western France, local officials said Monday. He was 67.

Grueber died Sunday on the Brittany island resort of Belle-Ile-en-Mer, where he had a second home, officials in the town of Le Palais said, without specifying the cause of death.

Japan: Stabbing spree threat

TOKYO — Japanese police arrested a 19-year-old man Monday for allegedly threatening on the Internet to go on a stabbing spree at Tokyo Disneyland.

The message, posted on a Web site by someone using a cell phone on June 15, came a week after a man posted similar warnings before killing seven people in a downtown Tokyo knifing rampage. Authorities were also searching for a woman suspected of wounding three people in a knifing incident Sunday.

Mexico: Food safety targeted

MEXICO CITY — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said Monday the United States wants to open an office in Latin America to monitor food safety.

The former Utah governor's comments came as U.S. inspectors combed Mexican farms and distribution sites to determine if a salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 500 people in the U.S. originated in Mexico or Florida.

Russia: Teens sentenced

MOSCOW — A Russian regional court on Monday convicted four teenagers of burning a man to death in the eternal flame of their town's World War II memorial.

The Vladimir Regional Court gave prison sentences of 16 to 18 years to three 19-year-old defendants, while a 15-year-old defendant was sentenced to a juvenile detention center for nine years, court spokesman Vladimir Ganenko said.

The victim, 25-year-old Alexei Denisov, came upon the teenagers while walking home on the night of Jan. 1 in the industrial town of Kolchugino, about 80 miles northeast of Moscow.

He reprimanded the teenagers, who were smoking and drinking around the town's eternal flame, part of a memorial to Soviet soldiers killed in World War II, the magazine Ogonyok wrote. The teenagers beat Denisov unconscious and threw him face-first into the flame, Ganenko said.