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Scores missing from Indian ferry

NEW DELHI - Rescuers in eastern India continued to search for survivors Tuesday after a ferry, overcrowded with more than 300 passengers, capsized during a severe storm. Authorities estimated that at least 40 people died and up to 200 were missing.

The accident occurred Monday afternoon, on the Brahmaputra River, as the double-decker ferry was approaching the shore near Buraburi, in the state of Assam. Police officials said the passengers were plunged into the water, with some able to swim to the bank, while others were either swept downstream or perished in the wreckage.

Authorities offered conflicting accounts on the circumstances of the accident. J.N. Choudhury, the state police chief in Assam, said in an interview Tuesday that the ferry broke into three pieces during the storm. He said investigators would try to determine whether the accident was caused by the storm or structural problems with the vessel.

Tarun Gogoi, the chief minister of Assam, said reports that the vessel had shattered were inaccurate and blamed the accident on the weather. - N.Y. Times News Service

Troops battle in Mali capital

BAMAKO, Mali - After fierce fighting in Mali's capital Tuesday, troops loyal to the junta overran the main camp of the soldiers who tried to oust them in a countercoup.

Gunfire echoed across Bamako as Malian government troops battled each other, killing at least 12 people.

Mali's coup leaders, who took power more than a month ago and ostensibly handed control over to an interim civilian government April 12, said they control the state broadcaster, the airport, and a military base, fending off attacks by opposing forces. Capt. Amadou Sanogo, the main coup leader, told a private radio station late Monday that the countercoup had failed and that his soldiers had captured foreign fighters.

A senior Western diplomat based in Bamako told the Associated Press that the fighting apparently started Monday when forces loyal to the junta tried to arrest the former head of the presidential guard. The guard is part of Mali's parachutist regiment, known as the Red Berets, part of the faction that was seen as the most reluctant to submit to the authority of the junta. The regiment was the most loyal to ex-President Amadou Toumani Toure when he was in power. - AP

Israel's Livni quits parliament

JERUSALEM - Tzipi Livni, who recently lost the leadership of her centrist Kadima Party and her position as leader of the opposition, resigned from the Israeli parliament Tuesday but said she was not quitting public life.

"The state of Israel is too dear to me to stop working for its interests," Livni told reporters before handing her letter of resignation to the speaker of the house.

Not long ago Livni, 53, was a popular force in Israeli politics. But her political future has been in question since she was defeated in a party primary in late March by archrival Shaul Mofaz, a former military chief and defense minister.

Livni's move came as Israeli politicians began planning for elections that are likely to be held by this fall rather than in 2013, fueling speculation that Livni might form or join up with another party. - N.Y. Times News Service