World Briefs: Airstrike kills 15 militants in Yemen

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Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh replaced Awn al-Khasawneh, who resigned last Thursday over differences with the king. Abdullah blamed him for failing to push hard enough for promised reforms, which include introducing three laws governing parliamentary elections, political parties and an independent electoral commission.

Jordan has had 17 months of low-level unrest over demands for more political say and objections to an election law that draws districts to boost the king’s backers among Bedouin tribes.

FRANCE

Sarkozy, Hollande face off in debate

PARIS — President Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out at his critics and his leftist challenger Francois Hollande called for national unity, as the two faced off in a highly anticipated presidential debate.

Mr. Sarkozy took a firm, critical posture from the beginning of the televised debate Wednesday night. He said he is being unfairly blamed for France’s economic problems after years of crisis and insisted he’s not “the only guilty one.”

He also denounced those who compared him to France’s Nazi collaborators because of his tough campaign rhetoric on immigrants.

Mr. Hollande, whose is favored to win Sunday’s election, called for bringing the country together. He said he has a hard time imagining the hard-hitting, attention-grabbing Mr. Sarkozy as a “victim.”

ISRAEL

Prisoners reach record in hunger strike

JERUSALEM — At least 1,550 Palestinians in Israeli jails are now taking part in a mass hunger strike, Israel’s Prison Service said on Wednesday, with two of them marking their 64th day without food.

Prison spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said another 100 prisoners had begun refusing food over the past two days, swelling the number of those on hunger strike to more than a third of the total Palestinian prison population of 4,700.

Two of them, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla, have been on hunger strike for 64 days, with Physicians for Human Rights-Israel warning that both were in danger of dying.

The vast majority of prisoners began refusing food on April 17 in a demand for improved conditions, including increased access to lawyers and family visits, an end to solitary confinement and an end to administrative detention.

UNITED KINGDOM

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