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SYRIA

Armed gunmen kill 120 security forces

BEIRUT — Armed men killed 120 Syrian security forces and torched government buildings Monday in a northern region where troops have unleashed deadly assaults on protesters for days, Syria said.

The government vowed to respond “decisively,” hinting at an even more brutal crackdown by a regime known for ruthlessly crushing dissent.

If confirmed, the attack in the north would be a turning point in what so far has largely been a peaceful uprising threatening the 40-year rule of President Bashar Assad and his family.

Opposition activists were skeptical of the official casualty toll, saying the authorities were setting the stage for a new onslaught. But even they acknowledged there was fighting, although it was not clear who was involved.

UNITED NATIONS

Ban Ki-moon seeking second term as U.N. chief

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Monday that he will seek a second term as head of the United Nations, pledging to keep leading the world body as a “bridge-builder” at a time of unprecedented global change. His re-election is virtually assured.

The former South Korean foreign minister finally made public what has been the U.N.’s worst kept secret — that he wants a second term — at a news conference to discuss his recent trips to Europe and Africa. In his virtually nonstop travels around the globe, he has been quietly lobbying world leaders for support.

Mr. Ban said he had sent letters to the 15-member Security Council and 192-member General Assembly “humbly” offering himself for consideration for a second five-year term. His current term ends Dec. 31.

INDIA

Cabinet approves deal for U.S. military planes

NEW DELHI — India’s Cabinet has approved a proposal to buy 10 American C-17 military aircraft for more than $4 billion, the largest defense deal between the two nations, a defense official said Monday.

The deal requires the aircraft maker, Boeing Co., to invest 30 percent of the $4 billion in defense-related industries in India, said the official, who could not be named because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the subject.

The approval comes after Boeing and another American defense manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, were rejected for an $11 billion deal to supply 126 fighter jets for the Indian air force.

MONTENEGRO

Police nab ‘Pink Panther’ jewel thief suspect

PODGORICA — Montenegrin police say they have arrested an alleged member of the international gang of jewel thieves known as the Pink Panthers.

The police identified the man as Igor Jocic, a citizen of neighboring Serbia. They said he was trying to cross the border between the two Balkan states. They did not specify the crime he has been accused of.

The members of the gang are believed by Interpol to be from Balkan countries. They are the prime suspects in a series of thefts that have netted more than $175 million of jewels and watches over the past decade in Europe, Asia and the Persian Gulf.

The international police have said more than 25 arrests have been made in recent years and 400 people are being investigated. The Pink Panther gang is named after the 1963 movie starring Peter Sellers as the bungling Inspector Clouseau.

MACEDONIA

Albanian political party likely coalition partner

SKOPJE — Macedonia’s conservative ruling party was looking for coalition partners Monday after it won in Sunday elections but fell short of a majority to govern a country that is struggling to improve its economic outlook.

The main task of the new government, expected to be formed by the end of July, will be to revive the economy, fight unemployment and poverty, and speed up the Balkan nation’s drive to join the European Union and NATO.

The most likely coalition partner for the VMRO-DPMNE party was the Democratic Union for Integration, the party that garnered the most votes among the ethnic Albanian minority that makes up one third of Macedonia’s population of 2 million.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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