Afghanistan: 30 Taliban killed

KANDAHAR — More than 30 suspected Taliban fighters died in clashes and airstrikes, while a Japanese aid worker kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan has been found dead, officials said Wednesday.

Kazuya Ito, 31, was abducted near the city of Jalalabad early Tuesday, and the Japanese government said no ransom demands were made. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Ghafor Khan, spokesman for the Nangarhar province police chief, said Ito was killed by blows to the head, likely caused by an attack with a rock.

Canada: Tightening controls

TUKTOYAKTUK, Northwest Territories — Canada's prime minister moved to firm up control of disputed Arctic waters Wednesday by announcing stricter registration requirements for ships sailing in the Northwest Passage.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said all ships sailing into the Canadian Arctic will be required to report to NORDREG, the Canadian Coast Guard agency that tracks vessels on such journeys. Such registration is currently voluntary.

Canada's control of the Northwest Passage is widely disputed internationally, including by the United States and the European Union.

England: Self-flagellation

LONDON — A man accused of involving two teenage boys in self-flagellation as part of a Muslim religious ritual was convicted of child cruelty Wednesday.

British prosecutors said it was the first time anyone in England had been tried for allegedly making children flog themselves, a practice used by some Shiite Muslims to mark Ashoura, commemorating the seventh century death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson Imam Hussein.

Prosecutors said Syed Mustafa Zaidi, 44, forced the teens to flog themselves at a Muslim community center in the northern English city of Manchester on Jan. 19. The flail they used carried small blades attached by chains that left superficial lacerations on their backs.

India: Dalai Lama too tired

DHARMSALA — The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was suffering from exhaustion and has canceled two planned international trips to undergo medical tests, his office said Wednesday.

The 73-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner had been "experiencing some discomfort in the past couple of days," a statement from his office said, adding that his doctors had diagnosed "exhaustion."

The Dalai Lama just returned from an 11-day visit to France, capping an intense few months.

India: 2 Islamic rebels killed

SRINAGAR — Government forces killed two Islamic rebels believed to have taken seven hostages, but a third insurgent still held out in the mainly Hindu city of Jammu in Indian Kashmir, a police official said late Wednesday.

At least five people died as gunbattles flared throughout the day — the two militants, a soldier and two civilians — in violence that raised fears militants were trying to exploit unrest that has roiled the Himalayan region for two months.

Mexico: Abortion ruling

MEXICO CITY — Mexico's Supreme Court was poised Wednesday to uphold legal abortion in the capital despite deep opposition elsewhere in the heavily Catholic country.

Eight of the 11 Supreme Court justices said during deliberations that they would vote against declaring the law unconstitutional. Eight votes would be needed to strike it down, but only three judges have spoken in favor of doing so. The justices were expected to take a formal vote within the next couple of days.

Switzerland: Exoneration

BERN — A woman beheaded after she was accused of causing a girl to spit pins and convulse was exonerated Wednesday, more than 200 years after she became the last person executed as a witch in Europe.

The decision to clear Anna Goeldi's name came after long debate in the eastern Swiss state of Glarus, and was taken in consultation with the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.

Afghanistan: 30 Taliban killed

KANDAHAR — More than 30 suspected Taliban fighters died in clashes and airstrikes, while a Japanese aid worker kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan has been found dead, officials said Wednesday.

Kazuya Ito, 31, was abducted near the city of Jalalabad early Tuesday, and the Japanese government said no ransom demands were made. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Ghafor Khan, spokesman for the Nangarhar province police chief, said Ito was killed by blows to the head, likely caused by an attack with a rock.

Canada: Tightening controls

TUKTOYAKTUK, Northwest Territories — Canada's prime minister moved to firm up control of disputed Arctic waters Wednesday by announcing stricter registration requirements for ships sailing in the Northwest Passage.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said all ships sailing into the Canadian Arctic will be required to report to NORDREG, the Canadian Coast Guard agency that tracks vessels on such journeys. Such registration is currently voluntary.

Canada's control of the Northwest Passage is widely disputed internationally, including by the United States and the European Union.

England: Self-flagellation

LONDON — A man accused of involving two teenage boys in self-flagellation as part of a Muslim religious ritual was convicted of child cruelty Wednesday.

British prosecutors said it was the first time anyone in England had been tried for allegedly making children flog themselves, a practice used by some Shiite Muslims to mark Ashoura, commemorating the seventh century death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson Imam Hussein.

Prosecutors said Syed Mustafa Zaidi, 44, forced the teens to flog themselves at a Muslim community center in the northern English city of Manchester on Jan. 19. The flail they used carried small blades attached by chains that left superficial lacerations on their backs.

India: Dalai Lama too tired

DHARMSALA — The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was suffering from exhaustion and has canceled two planned international trips to undergo medical tests, his office said Wednesday.

The 73-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner had been "experiencing some discomfort in the past couple of days," a statement from his office said, adding that his doctors had diagnosed "exhaustion."

The Dalai Lama just returned from an 11-day visit to France, capping an intense few months.

India: 2 Islamic rebels killed

SRINAGAR — Government forces killed two Islamic rebels believed to have taken seven hostages, but a third insurgent still held out in the mainly Hindu city of Jammu in Indian Kashmir, a police official said late Wednesday.

At least five people died as gunbattles flared throughout the day — the two militants, a soldier and two civilians — in violence that raised fears militants were trying to exploit unrest that has roiled the Himalayan region for two months.

Mexico: Abortion ruling

MEXICO CITY — Mexico's Supreme Court was poised Wednesday to uphold legal abortion in the capital despite deep opposition elsewhere in the heavily Catholic country.

Eight of the 11 Supreme Court justices said during deliberations that they would vote against declaring the law unconstitutional. Eight votes would be needed to strike it down, but only three judges have spoken in favor of doing so. The justices were expected to take a formal vote within the next couple of days.

Switzerland: Exoneration

BERN — A woman beheaded after she was accused of causing a girl to spit pins and convulse was exonerated Wednesday, more than 200 years after she became the last person executed as a witch in Europe.

The decision to clear Anna Goeldi's name came after long debate in the eastern Swiss state of Glarus, and was taken in consultation with the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.