Italian premier fights for survival

ROME - Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi battled for his political survival Monday, warning lawmakers they risked plunging the country into financial instability unless they supported his government in two confidence votes.

The Parliament showdown Tuesday is a do-or-die test for Berlusconi midway through his five-year term. He has insisted he would survive, but the outcome is uncertain.

Berlusconi has been hurt by prostitution scandals and embarrassing revelations that a U.S. diplomat described him as a "feckless" leader, according to a U.S. Embassy cable released by WikiLeaks website.

In his speech Monday, he offered to negotiate a new legislative agenda and shuffle the cabinet to allow the government to survive until elections in 2013.

- AP

Moscow vows halt to ethnic attacks

MOSCOW - Violent protesters and "racists" who rampaged in Moscow over the weekend will be tracked down and punished, President Dmitry A. Medvedev declared Monday, warning that Russia could be torn apart if seething ethnic tensions spun out of control.

About 5,000 people rallied near the Kremlin, chanting "Russia for Russians!" as well as an obscene slur against people from Russia's Caucasus region. They brutally beat some dark-skinned passersby, and more than 30 people were injured.

Resentment is rising among Slavic Russians over the growing presence in Moscow and elsewhere of people from the Caucasus, the home of numerous ethnic groups, most of them Muslim.

- AP

Plan put forth to halt shark attacks

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt - Experts in Egypt investigating an unusual series of shark attacks at one of the world's top diving destinations recommended on Monday strict fines for feeding the fish and dumping carcasses in the water.

South Sinai Governor Mohammed Shousha said scientists also suggested building observation towers on the beach and running naval patrols to warn tourists against any future shark attacks.

Last week a shark killed a 70-year-old German tourist while she was snorkeling, just a few days after sharks mauled three Russians and a Ukrainian tourist, sparking a closure of the beaches at Sharm el-Sheikh, an international holiday destination.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Masked French police detained a 17-year-old boy armed with two knives who took a class of preschoolers hostage in Besancon, releasing all 20 children safely after hours of tense negotiations.

Kuwaiti authorities shut local offices of the Al-Jazeera TV network and withdrew its accreditation after it covered a violent police crackdown on a meeting of opposition lawmakers. The station denounced the action, saying Kuwait was meddling in the station's internal affairs.