Egypt abductees appear in video

CAIRO - Seven men purported to be the members of Egypt's security forces kidnapped by suspected militants last week appeared in a video posted online Sunday and urged the government to secure their release by meeting their captors' demands.

The video, posted on YouTube, is the first sign of the six police officers and one border guard since they were abducted Thursday by gunmen on the road from the Sinai Peninsula to Cairo. Egyptian security officials said they believed the men in the clip were the missing personnel and that authorities were treating the matter seriously.

The kidnappings have embarrassed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi's government and are seen as a test of his administration's ability to restore security to the volatile peninsula. They also have renewed a national debate on how best to tackle the troubles in northern Sinai, which borders Gaza and Israel. - AP

Syria bombards rebel stronghold

BEIRUT - Syrian forces launched a large-scale assault Sunday on the city of Qusair, a rebel stronghold near the Lebanese border, in the government's latest effort to push back opposition fighters from strategic areas of the country.

The opposition said fighters from Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group allied with the Syrian government, took part in the siege. Hezbollah did not confirm its involvement.

The bombardment, the opposition said, was among the most intense of the more than two-year Syrian conflict. - AP

China, N. Korea clash over boat

BEIJING - The Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang has asked North Korea to release a private Chinese fishing boat and its crew soon after its owner reported the detention 10 days ago, state media said.

The owner of the boat took to a microblog this weekend to raise awareness of the May 5 detention. Yu Xuejun said that unidentified gun-wielding North Koreans took his boat and 16 crew members in what he said were Chinese waters and that the North Koreans wanted $100,000 ransom.

The diplomatic difficulty comes at a time of high Chinese frustrations with North Korea after it conducted a nuclear test and missile launches. - AP

Measles deaths rack Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Hundreds of Pakistani children have died of measles in the last year, and more deaths are expected because of Pakistani health officials' inept vaccination programs, according to a new government report.

Already unable to eliminate polio, Pakistan is ranked as one of the world's worst five countries for measles vaccination rates.

Pakistani officials are also concerned that the runaway epidemic may soon force other nations to deny entry to Pakistani travelers. - Washington Post