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Thousands mark Tito's birthday

BELGRADE, Serbia - Several thousand people visited Josip Broz Tito's grave to celebrate his birthday Tuesday in a sign of the sentimentality many feel about the Yugoslav communist dictator 30 years after his death.

Tito's admirers flocked from all over the former Yugoslavia, the ethnically diverse federation that he skillfully steered through the Cold War era but that broke up in brutal warfare a decade after Tito died in 1980. The Yugoslav wars of the 1990s pitted regions and ethnic groups against one another, killed about 120,000 people, and split the federation into seven parts.

Although Tito ruled Yugoslavia with a heavy hand, he allowed some freedoms, kept the country out of the Soviet grip, and provided relative prosperity at home.

Carrying Tito's pictures and Yugoslav flags, admirers Tuesday sang Communist-era songs at his memorial center in a residential area of Belgrade.

- AP

1st woman to lead Trinidad-Tobago

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad - Trinidad and Tobago has elected its first female prime minister in an early election, ousting an incumbent hurt by soaring crime and allegations of public corruption.

Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her five-party People's Partnership coalition won 29 of 41 seats in the Caribbean nation's Parliament, according to preliminary results Tuesday.

The 59-year-old attorney told thousands of supporters at a celebration rally that her government would not allow one ethnic group or social class to dominate the twin-island country.

Two-term incumbent Prime Minister Patrick Manning called elections 30 months ahead of schedule. "We accept the results, and I accept full responsibility for it," he said. - AP

Mumbai suspect remains free

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan's high court ruled Tuesday that authorities did not have enough evidence to arrest a firebrand Islamic cleric suspected of masterminding the deadly attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008.

The ruling is likely to anger India's government at a time when the two rival countries seek a thaw in relations.

Hafiz Saeed founded Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani extremist group blamed for attacks on hotels and other targets in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

India expressed dismay at the decision but also a certain resignation. Many in India see a long pattern of Pakistan arresting prime terror suspects only to release them quietly sometime later.

- AP


An ambitious third search costing $15.8 million has failed to find the flight recorders that could explain why Air France Flight 447 crashed a year ago in the Atlantic depths, killing all 228 people aboard the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, investigators said Tuesday.

Two American tourists were released a day after they were kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen while traveling in the northwest near San'a. The U.S. Embassy said the man and woman were freed after Yemeni security forces surrounded the kidnappers and negotiated the release of the hostages peacefully.