- - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

PUERTO RICO

Island poised to surpass homicide record

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico is having its deadliest year on record, as authorities struggle to control a rampant drug war in the U.S. Caribbean territory.

Police said Wednesday that three people died overnight in separate incidents, raising the year’s homicide toll to 995 on the island of 4 million people. That matches a 1994 record with six weeks left to go in the year.

Local authorities say 70 percent of the killings are drug related.

Both the unemployment and homicide rates in Puerto Rico are higher than in any U.S. state.

MYANMAR

Political prisoners to be moved closer to families

YANGON — Myanmar began transferring some political prisoners from remote jails to facilities closer to their families Wednesday, according to a security official, but there was no sign when others might be freed.

News of the transfer was received warily by family and associates of prisoners, who feared it might take the place of a broader release, which had been anticipated this week.

UNITED KINGDOM

Spies foiled Libyan plot to kill Westerners

LONDON — British intelligence agencies have helped disrupt a plan to kill Western representatives in Libya and attack the country’s interim leaders, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday.

In a rare speech on Britain’s intelligence efforts, Mr. Hague also confirmed for the first time that agents from the MI6 foreign intelligence agency have died in recent years protecting the country.

Mr. Hague revealed that Britain’s role in the NATO-led intervention in Libya was “backed by effective intelligence” that “saved lives.”

Britain also had disrupted a plot by extremists who traveled abroad for “terrorist training,” he said, without specifying the country involved.

THAILAND

U.S. announces $10 million Thai flood relief package

BANGKOK — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced a $10 million aid package for flood-ravaged Thailand on Wednesday during a visit to express solidarity.

Mrs. Clinton met with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as flooding continued to plague areas around Bangkok, the capital.

Thai authorities announced, however, that water in the capital is receding and all main streets will be dry in two weeks, providing good news after months of floods that have killed 564 people nationwide.

NETHERLANDS

Euthanasia group proposes ‘mobile’ teams

AMSTERDAM — The main Dutch euthanasia advocacy group says it supports creating “mobile” euthanasia teams of doctors for terminally ill patients who want to die in their own homes, rather than in a hospital.

The Netherlands legalized euthanasia in 2001 for cases in which patients are suffering unbearable pain from illness with no hope of recovery.

Spokeswoman Walburg de Jong of The Right to Die said Wednesday the idea is a logical extension of its plan - not approved by the government - to create a clinic for patients who meet the criteria for euthanasia but whose doctors are unwilling to carry it out.

SAUDI ARABIA

Prince resigns from succession commission

RIYADH — A Saudi prince known as a rebellious member of the royal family resigned Wednesday from a commission in charge of selecting the oil-rich kingdom’s future kings.

Talal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, the king’s half-brother, said on his official website that he had submitted his resignation to King Abdullah. He didn’t give reasons.

The resignation indicates a power struggle within the ruling Saudi family. Talal criticized what he called a monopoly on Saudi power by an unnamed faction within the royal family in remarks published in 2007.

Last month, Crown Prince Sultan died and was replaced by conservative Prince Nayef, who is 78. Nayef would assume the throne upon the death of the 87-year-old king, who is recovering from his third back operation in less than a year.

UNITED KINGDOM

Eviction notices posted on Occupy London tents

LONDON — London officials attached eviction notices to protest tents outside St. Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday, asking the demonstrators to remove the camp within a day or face legal action.

The notices posted by the City of London Corporation said the encampment was “an unlawful obstruction” of a sidewalk, and asked protesters to take down “all tents and other structures” by 6 p.m. Thursday.

If the tents are not removed, the corporation says it will go to court seeking an eviction notice - a process that could take weeks or months.

From wire dispatches and staff reports