Guatemala: Crash kills leader

GUATEMALA CITY — A helicopter crash killed Guatemala's interior minister and three other people on Friday.

The helicopter went down in a wooded area in northern Guatemala, presidential spokesman Ronaldo Robles said. All on board were killed: Interior Minister Vinicio Gomez, Vice Interior Minister Edgar Hernandez, the pilot and one other passenger.

India: 6.7 quake strikes

NEW DELHI — A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck off India's Andaman Islands on Friday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, officials and police said.

The quake, which was centered some 75 miles southwest of the Andaman capital, Port Blair, caused panic among residents but no damage or injuries, said Ranjit Narayan, the director general of police in the Andamans.

Niger: Clash kills at least 17

NIAMEY — Government troops clashed with ethnic Tuareg rebels in the northwest African nation of Niger Friday, leaving at least 17 people dead, according to statements by both sides.

Though the government and the rebels confirmed fighting around the town of Tezirzait, their death tolls were vastly different. The government said in a statement read on national television that 17 rebels and no government soldiers were killed. The Tuareg rebel group, the Niger Movement for Justice, said on its Web site that two separate clashes kill 33 people — 26 soldiers and seven rebels.

Pakistan: 'Spies' executed

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — In a gruesome public spectacle, Taliban-linked militants Friday executed two Afghan men accused of spying for the United States, slitting their throats and parading their severed heads before a cheering crowd.

The killings, which took place in front of about 5,000 people in the Bajur tribal region, were said to be in retribution for a suspected U.S. missile strike last month targeting al-Qaida militants.

Philippines: Ferry search halted

MANILA — Philippine officials suspended attempts to retrieve bodies from a sunken ferry on Friday due to fears of toxic chemicals in the hold.

Tests revealed no contamination, but officials said the search would not resume until the dangerous cargo was removed.

Vice President Noli de Castro told reporters that 22,000 pounds of the pesticide endosulfan intended for pineapple plantations of Del Monte Philippines went down with the ferry when it capsized in a typhoon Saturday in the central Philippines. It remained unclear how many of the 850-plus passengers and crew were trapped when the 23,824-ton Princess of the Stars went belly up during the powerful typhoon.

Switzerland: Cell transfers

GENEVA — Detainees at Guantanamo Bay are turned into "nomads" to keep them agitated and to punish those who break rules, a Sudanese journalist recently released from the U.S. military prison said Friday.

Sami al-Haj said moving detainees between camps and from cell to cell appeared to be part of an official policy to destabilize them. Frequent cell transfers at the prison became an issue in May when a Pentagon-appointed defense attorney sought to have an Afghan detainee's charges dismissed, citing abusive interrogation tactics. The lawyer alleged his client was subjected to "frequent flying," a sleep-deprivation technique that involves round-the-clock cell transfers before questioning.