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WORLD NEWS IN BRIEF: Fractures in Libya, Prince Harry and Usain Bolt race

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | 8:23 p.m. CST

Eastern Libya declared semiautonomous state Barqa

BENGHAZI, Libya — Tribal leaders and militia commanders declared oil-rich eastern Libya a semiautonomous state on Tuesday, a unilateral move that the interim head of state called a "dangerous" conspiracy by Arab nations to tear the country apart six months after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.

Thousands of representatives of major tribes, militia commanders and politicians made the declaration at a conference in the main eastern city of Benghazi, insisting it was not intended to divide the country. They said they want their region to remain part of a united Libya, but needed to do this to stop decades of discrimination against the east.

The goal for the east now is to revive the system in place from 1951 until 1963, when Libya, ruled by a monarchy, was divided into three states: Tripolitania in the west, Fezzan in the southwest and Cyrenaica in the east — or Barqa, as it was called in Arabic.

World powers agree to new round of nuclear talks with Iran

TEHRAN, Iran — Efforts to find a diplomatic solution to Iran's disputed nuclear program appeared to get a boost Tuesday when world powers agreed to a new round of talks with Tehran, and Iran gave permission for inspectors to visit a site suspected of secret atomic work.

The two developments countered somewhat the crisis atmosphere over Iran's nuclear program, the focus of talks in Washington between President Barack Obama and Israel's visiting prime minister.

Speaking at a news conference, Obama said he saw a "window of opportunity" to use diplomacy instead of military force to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

Speaking in Brussels, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany had agreed to a new round of nuclear talks with Iran. Previous talks have not achieved what the powers want — an end to uranium enrichment on Iranian soil. The last round ended in failure in January 2011.

The time and venue of the new talks have not yet been set.

New video shows torture at Syria hospital

BEIRUT— Syria's president defied mounting international pressure to end the year-old crackdown on an uprising against him and said Tuesday he was determined to go on fighting what he called "foreign-backed terrorism."

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, described video that has emerged of torture victims allegedly shot secretly in the Military Hospital in Homs as "truly shocking."

The video, broadcast this week on Britain's Channel 4, shows wounded civilian victims blindfolded and chained to their hospital beds, some of them with clear torture marks on their bodies, allegedly at the hands of medical staff.

The U.N. says more than 7,500 people have been killed since Syria's uprising started in March 2011. Activists put the death toll at more than 8,000.

Disney songwriter dies

LONDON — How do you sum up the work of songwriter Robert B. Sherman? Try one word: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

The tongue-twisting term, sung by magical nanny Mary Poppins, is like much of Sherman's work — both complex and instantly memorable, for child and adult alike. Once heard, it was never forgotten.

Sherman, who died in London at age 86, was half of a sibling partnership that put songs into the mouths of nannies and Cockney chimney sweeps, jungle animals and Parisian felines.

Robert Sherman and his brother Richard composed scores for films including "The Jungle Book," ''The Aristocats," ''Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." They also wrote the most-played tune on Earth, "It's a Small World (After All)."

Sherman's agent, Stella Richards, said Tuesday that Sherman died peacefully in London on Monday.

 Prince Harry races Usain Bolt

KINGSTON, Jamaica — It wasn't much of a race, but then it really couldn't have been as the world's fastest man Usain Bolt and Britain's Prince Harry met up on a track Tuesday in the Jamaican capital.

Later, the two exchanged pleasantries and talked about running for a small audience, including many athletes. The prince noted Jamaica's international reputation as a track and field powerhouse and said it was impressive for a small nation of nearly 3 million.

"Don't go running off to America because you have a clear talent your country needs," he told a group of up-and-coming Jamaican athletes as he sat beside Bolt.

Harry is touring the Caribbean as part of a Diamond Jubilee tour in honor of Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates 60 years on the throne. The 27-year-old prince, who made earlier stops in the Bahamas and Belize, arrived by private jet and received a 21-gun salute from members of the Jamaica Defense Force.


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