World briefs

AFGHANISTAN  Taliban militants who have been waging war on the Afghan government for more than a decade express a willingness to soften their position on a range of issues, an apparent shift that could eventually lead to peace talks.

N KOREA-RUSSIA North Korea announces that the head of its parliament will attend this month’s Victory Day celebration in Moscow, squelching speculation that supreme leader Kim Jong Un would use the event to make his international debut. More on p12

PAKISTAN  Police say the death toll from an accident in which a minibus struck a power line and burst into flames has climbed to 13 after five people died at hospitals overnight.

AUSTRALIA Europeans grappling with mass migration from Libya are seeking information about Australia’s controversial success in stopping asylum seeker boats reaching its shores, the prime minister says.

NEW ZEALAND A magnitude-5.6 earthquake jolts the South Island of New Zealand, but there are no initial reports of major damage or injuries.

Burundi Political TensionsBURUNDI  At least 35 people have been injured in demonstrations in Burundi’s capital yesterday, the Burundi Red Cross said, as thousands continued to protest the president’s decision to seek a third term. The protests in the Burundian capital of Bujumbura resumed after a weekend pause following a week of clashes between police and protesters angry over the ruling party’s decision to nominate President Pierre Nkurunziza as its candidate in elections scheduled for June 26.

PHILIPPINES The Philippine military chief confirms the death of wanted Filipino bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman, who has links to the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network and is a suspect in deadly bomb attacks in the south.

PHILIPPINES Gunmen clad in military uniform abduct two Philippine coast guard personnel and a village chief on a southern island and then sped away in two motorboats, police say.

NIGERIAN troops have killed dozens of civilians and razed scores of homes to avenge the deaths of six soldiers, community leaders and residents of central Plateau state charged on Sunday. A spokesman for the Special Task Force said its troops are involved only in an ongoing battle with a tribal militia that residents said killed six soldiers and mutilated their bodies last week. The soldiers’ eyes were gouged out, their tongues slit and they were beheaded.

APTOPIX Italy MigrantsITALY A baby girl was born aboard a rescue boat in the Mediterranean Sea as Italian Coast Guard and Navy ships bring migrants by the thousands to the country’s southern ports. In the three-day period ending Sunday, 6,771 survivors were rescued at sea north of Libya from overcrowded rubber dinghies and unseaworthy fishing boats used by Libya-based smugglers, according to a Coast Guard tally reported yesterday. Ten bodies were found Sunday on boats or in the sea.

FRANCE The man who for nearly four decades built France’s far-right National Front into a political force may now be on the fast track to disgrace. The party’s executive bureau was to meet yesterday to decide possible sanctions against Jean-Marie Le Pen over his anti-Semitic remarks, amid a high-stakes family feud. His daughter Marine Le Pen — the current party leader — and other rising stars within the party want to shut him up.

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