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Report: Top Taliban Leader Says Insurgents Can't Win War

One of the most senior Taliban commanders has admitted that it is unlikely the insurgents can win the war in Afghanistan, according to an interview published by Britain's New Statesman magazine.

The identity of the Taliban leader is not revealed but the interview was conducted by Taliban expert and author Michael Semple, who was a U.N. envoy to Afghanistan and is now with the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard.

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54 Migrants Die of Thirst in Mediterranean Boat Drama

Fifty-four migrants trying to reach Italy died of thirst when their inflatable boat ruptured in the Mediterranean, according to testimony from the sole survivor, Abbes Settou, the U.N. refugee agency said on Wednesday.

Settou, who drank sea water to survive, was spotted clinging to a jerry can and the remains of the stricken boat off the Tunisian coast on Monday night by fishermen who alerted the coast guard, the UNHCR said.

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ASEAN Struggles over Maritime Dispute with China

China and Southeast Asian countries struggled to make progress Wednesday on a code of conduct designed to ease tension in the flashpoint South China Sea, diplomatic sources said.

The two sides were due to meet at a summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cambodia amid splits on what the code should include and how it should be implemented.

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Report: Berlusconi Preparing for Political Comeback

Silvio Berlusconi wants to be prime minister again and is preparing to present his candidacy for 2013 elections, an Italian daily said Wednesday in a report partially confirmed by the head of his party.

"The decision has been taken: Berlusconi will once against present his candidacy for the post of prime minister," the daily reported, without citing its sources, after incumbent Mario Monti reiterated he would step down in 2013.

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Report: China Releases Four S. Korean Activists

China has released four South Korean activists who were held in March after interviewing North Korean refugees hiding there, a report said Wednesday.

The four are being questioned by South Korean intelligence officials in China after being released from a detention center in the border city of Dandong just across from North Korea, Yonhap news agency said.

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Brother of S. Korean President Detained over Corruption Trial

The elder brother of South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak was arrested and detained early Wednesday pending a corruption trial, in a setback for the conservative ruling party during an election year.

The Seoul Central District Court approved prosecutors' request for an arrest warrant for Lee Sang-Deuk, a former six-term ruling party lawmaker, over a savings bank scandal.

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Nigerian Christian Leader Urges U.S. Action on Boko Haram

The leader of Nigeria's Christians called Tuesday on the United States to declare the Islamist group Boko Haram to be terrorists, but a U.S. official said it was more important to address social inequalities.

In an unusually blunt appeal by a foreigner before the U.S. Congress, the head of the main Christian body in religiously divided Nigeria said that a decision to blacklist three Boko Haram leaders as terrorists did not go far enough.

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Thai King Pardons U.S. Citizen Over Royal Insult

Thailand on Wednesday said a Thai-born U.S. citizen jailed for insulting the kingdom's revered monarch had been granted a royal pardon, in a move welcomed by the United States.

Joe Wichai Commart Gordon, a car salesman from Colorado, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in December under the kingdom's strict lese majeste laws, which rights campaigners say are used to stifle freedom of expression.

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6 Dead, 22 Wounded in Southern Philippine Ambush

Gunmen suspected to be Islamic militants ambushed a convoy carrying farm workers in the southern Philippines Wednesday, killing six and wounding 22 others, the army said.

The four-vehicle convoy, which also carried armed security escorts from a government militia, was on its way to a remote rubber plantation when it was attacked, Army spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc said.

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U.S. 'al-Qaida Backer' Pleads Guilty to Pentagon Bomb Plot

An American al-Qaida supporter admitted plotting to bomb the Pentagon and the Capitol using explosives-laden model planes and will be jailed for 17 years, officials said Tuesday.

In an agreement reached last week, Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, pleaded guilty to attempting to damage and destroy the Washington landmarks by means of an explosive and attempting to provide material support to terrorists.

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