Azerbaijan: Territorial conflict
BAKU (AP) The United States will work harder to help settle a 20-year territorial conflict between the ex-Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia, a U.S. diplomat said Thursday.
The two countries both claim the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which has a population mostly of Armenians but is located within Azerbaijan.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza, visiting Azerbaijan's capital Baku on Thursday, said it was more important than ever now to resolve the dispute, after Russia's war last month with Georgia.
Brazil: Same-sex unions
BRASILIA (AP) Brazil's president has come out in favor of same-sex unions.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says that in Brazil, "there are men living with men, and women living with women" who "build a good life together." But a proposed law that would give all same-sex couples rights equal to those enjoyed by married heterosexuals has been stalled in Brazil's Congress for more than a decade.
Silva said in an interview aired late Wednesday night by the government-run TV Brasil that politicians who oppose same-sex unions and yet seek the votes of gay men and women during elections are "hypocrites."
Germany: Composer dies
BERLIN (AP) Argentine-born composer Mauricio Kagel, whose experimental body of work also ranged into theater, has died in Germany, his publisher said Thursday. He was 76.
The C.F. Peters musical publishing house said Kagel died overnight in Cologne following a long illness, but it did not give details on the cause of death.
Kagel was born in Buenos Aires on Dec. 24, 1931, into a Jewish family of German-Russian origin.
Mexico: Attack linked to gang
MEXICO CITY (AP) Federal investigators suspect the powerful La Familia drug gang was behind a grenade attack that killed seven people in an Independence Day crowd and increased violence-scarred Mexicans' sense that no place is safe.
A spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office said Thursday that investigators have uncovered evidence pointing to the gang, based in Morelia where the attack occurred. She would not elaborate.
It remains unclear why drug traffickers would turn from killing their enemies to carrying out attacks against the general public, something unheard of in Mexico.
Nigeria: Oil pipeline bombed
LAGOS (AP) Nigeria's main militant group says its fighters bombed another oil pipeline in the restive southern oil region.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta says it destroyed the pipeline run by a unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC with high explosives.
Shell officials could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
If confirmed, the attack would mark the sixth straight day of stepped-up violence in the southern regions of Africa's oil giant.
S. Korea: N. Korea leader not ill
SEOUL (AP) A North Korean diplomat has angrily denied that leader Kim Jong Il is ill.
North Korean Foreign Ministry official Hyun Hak Bong says talk of Kim's illness is "nonsense spread by bad people who don't wish our republic to go well."
The North's leader reportedly suffered a stroke last month and had brain surgery. Hyun made the remarks to reporters Friday before talks with South Korean officials about shipping energy aid to the communist nation under an international nuclear disarmament pact.