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Rescuers free Chinese sailors from pirates

BEIJING — Twenty-four Chinese sailors on a cargo ship that was hijacked in the Arabian Sea have been rescued, China's government said Friday.

The Panama-registered ship the sailors were on was hijacked by seven pirates Thursday morning, and the 24 were rescued today, the Ministry of Transport said.

The report on the ministry's website did not give any details on how the sailors were rescued. It said they were safe and in good condition.

Chinese naval squadrons are stationed in the region to escort commercial ships and make anti-piracy patrols with NATO nations, Russia and India.

Strike kills suspected al-Qaida militants

SANAA, Yemen — An aircraft suspected to be a U.S. drone fired a missile at a car in southern Yemen on Thursday, killing two brothers believed to be al-Qaida militants, said security and tribal officials.

Yemen's Defense Ministry confirmed the deaths of the brothers in Shabwa province, but would not provide any further details.

In September, the country's foreign minister said it was no longer allowing missile strikes by pilotless planes. But after al-Qaida smuggled explosives aboard cargo planes bound for the U.S. in late October, it is thought that the strikes resumed.

Brazilian high court upholds civil unions

SAO PAULO — Brazil's Supreme Court ruled Thursday night that civil unions between same-sex couples must be allowed in this nation with more Roman Catholics than any other.

In a 10-0 vote, with one abstention, the justices said gay couples deserve the same legal rights as heterosexual pairs when it comes to alimony, retirement benefits of a partner who dies, and inheritances, among other issues.

The ruling, however, stopped short of legalizing gay marriage. In Latin America, that is legal only in neighboring Argentina and in Mexico City.

Rescue ship brings migrants to Libya port

BENGHAZI, Libya — A rescue ship packed with migrants from the besieged Libyan city of Misrata arrived Thursday at the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, even as rebels received assurances in Rome of a financial aid package from the United States and other international powers.

The chartered ferry Red Star 1 finally docked in Misrata on Wednesday amid shelling of a nearby camp, picked up evacuees and the wounded, then quickly shoved off into the Mediterranean en route to Benghazi, the rebels' de facto capital where relative stability reigns.

600 march in Mexico to protest violence

CUERNAVACA, Mexico — More than 600 people led by a Mexican poet whose son was killed by suspected drug traffickers are marching from the resort city of Cuernavaca to Mexico City to protest the country's unrelenting gang violence.

The group carrying signs reading "Stop the War," Mexican flags and photos of poet Javier Sicilia's slain son began marching Thursday and is expected to arrive in Mexico City's Zocalo square Sunday.

Sicilia's son Juan Francisco was killed March 28 along with six other people. Three alleged cartel members have been arrested in the slayings.

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