Hezbollah says it will get more Syrian weapons

Syria will supply “game-changing” weapons to Hezbollah, the chief of the Lebanese militant group said Thursday, less than a week after Israeli airstrikes on Damascus targeted alleged shipments of advanced Iranian missiles bound for Hezbollah. In a related development, Israeli security officials said they had asked Russia to cancel the imminent sale of an advanced air defense system to Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry, traveling in Rome Thursday, joined the call, saying the transfer of the missile systems to Syria would be a “destabilizing” factor for Israel’s security.


One-child rule could be trouble for top director

China’s most celebrated film director, Zhang Yimou, is being investigated for a potential violation of family planning laws, an official said Thursday, confirming reports in state news media. Family planning officials are examining discussions on the Internet that say Zhang has fathered up to seven children with four women. If he is found to have violated the laws, he could be fined nearly $27 million because the fines are based on the offender’s income, according to a report in the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party. The laws generally restrict families to one child, and fines are levied for additional children. Zhang could not be reached for comment.


Abduction caps pre-election violence

A spate of killings, kidnappings and bombings that has marred the run-up to Pakistan’s nationwide election was capped Thursday by the abduction of the son of a former prime minister as he was rallying supporters in his race for a provincial assembly seat. Ali Haider Gilani was seized on the last day of campaigning before the historic vote Saturday, which would represent the first time in Pakistan’s military coup-riddled history that a civilian government has finished its term and handed over power to another. There was no claim of responsibility, but suspicion immediately fell on the Taliban because Gilani’s party has supported military operations against the insurgents in northwestern Pakistan.


Karzai: U.S. can keep nine military bases

Afghanistan is ready to let the United States and its allies keep nine military bases there after the end of the NATO combat mission next year, President Hamid Karzai said Thursday. But the U.S. reaction was guarded, with officials characterizing Karzai’s comments as premature, reflecting the Afghan government’s desire for a larger force than the United States is likely willing to commit. The Obama administration has yet to decide how many service members will remain in Afghanistan, but administration officials have signaled that it is unlikely to total more than 10,000.


Unnamed American stabbed outside embassy

An Egyptian man stabbed an American outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Thursday for an unknown reason. A spokesman for the embassy, David J. Ranz, said the man who was stabbed was a private U.S. citizen not affiliated with the embassy. Egyptian security forces arrested the attacker, and the victim was taken to a hospital, Ranz said. He gave no further details about the American’s identity or medical condition. Though violence against Americans remain rare in Egypt, there are often noisy demonstrations near the embassy that trumpet anti-U.S. sentiments.


Search on for couple missing from ship

Authorities were conducting an air and marine search Thursday off Australia’s east coast for two cruise passengers who were believed to have fallen overboard the night before. The couple, Australian citizens from New South Wales state, were discovered missing Thursday morning after the Carnival Spirit docked at Sydney’s Circular Quay, at the end of a 10-day journey, said New South Wales Police Superintendent Mark Hutchings. He said surveillance camera footage showed that the couple — a 30-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman whose names have not been released — fell from the ship’s mid deck Wednesday night, when the ship was about 65 miles off the coast.


Militia turns tables on military in attack

Heavily armed and under orders to break up an ethnic militia, a combined force of Nigerian police officers and agents of the country’s domestic spy agency instead found themselves the target of a brutal attack that left at least 30 of them dead and others still missing days later, authorities said Thursday. The attack on the officers in Nasarawa state, near Nigeria’s central capital of Abuja, again showed how overwhelmed security forces are in this nation as they continue to be targeted in an increasingly bloody insurgency led by Islamic extremists in the country’s north.


Prisoner’s death adds to border tensions

A Pakistani prisoner serving a life sentence in India died Thursday from a beating that occurred a day after a convicted Indian spy was killed inside a Pakistani prison, and the rival neighbor nations have accused each other of not doing enough to protect prisoners. Pakistani diplomat Sultan Hasan said the inmate, accused Pakistani militant Sanaullah Ranjay, died in a hospital in northern India. He had been beaten up by a fellow inmate in the prison in Jammu, the winter capital of the disputed, Indian-ruled territory of Kashmir. On May 2, an Indian man convicted of spying in Pakistan died days after he was bludgeoned with a brick by fellow inmates at a prison in Lahore.


North says American opposed government

North Korea delivered its most in-depth account yet of the case against a Korean-American sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor, accusing him late Thursday of smuggling in inflammatory literature and trying to establish a base for anti-Pyongyang activities at a border city hotel. Still, the long list of allegations included no statement from Kenneth Bae, other than claims that he confessed and did not want an attorney present during his sentencing last week for what Pyongyang called hostile acts against the state. Outside analysts have said Pyongyang may be using Bae as bait to win diplomatic concessions in the standoff over its nuclear weapons program.


Plans made to tear down ‘peace’ walls

Northern Ireland hopes to tear down the so-called “peace lines” of Belfast — dozens of walls of brick, steel and barbed wire that divide Irish Catholic and British Protestant neighborhoods — within a decade, officials said Thursday. But in setting a deadline of 2023, it’s a sign of how difficult the task will be. The government unveiled the goal as part of wider plans to reduce divisions in what remains a profoundly polarized society 15 years after the Good Friday peace accord.


No motive given in officers’ shootings

A man grabbed a police officer’s gun and began shooting Thursday, wounding five policemen outside the statehouse of the northern Mexico state of Coahuila. Three officers were reported in serious condition. State security spokesman Jesus Carranza said the attacker has been detained and his motives were under investigation. Coahuila has been wracked with drug cartel violence, but there was no immediate indication that the shooting was related to drug violence.


President says al-Qaida gaining strength

The president of Yemen on Thursday warned that the al-Qaida branch in the country was expanding and using assassinations and abductions of foreigners as a way to challenge the central authority. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued his warning during a closed session of the National Dialogue, which brings political, religious and other leaders together to decide on the country’s political system before writing a constitution. According to the participants, Hadi said that although his government has been going after al-Qaida militants around the country, dealing them some setbacks, “the group is recuperating” and sleeper cells are waiting for the right time to carry out terrorist operations.