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World news briefs — compiled March 9

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SYRIA

Nuns freed in prisoner deal

Syrian rebels released a group of Greek Orthodox nuns who had been held since December, Lebanon’s official news agency reported Monday. The release of the 13 nuns and their three helpers is a rare successful prisoner exchange deal between Syrian government authorities and the rebels seeking to overthrow the rule of President Bashar Assad. Approximately 150 female prisoners are to be released in exchange for the nuns’ freedom.

MEXICO

Evidence points to cartel chief

Forensic evidence indicates a man killed Sunday in an early morning shootout with marines in western Mexico was a leader of the Knights Templar Cartel who the government reported slain in 2010, Mexican officials said Sunday. Authorities were awaiting DNA tests for final confirmation that they had the body of Nazario Moreno Gonzalez. Moreno, nicknamed “The Craziest One,” would have turned 44 on Saturday. He led the La Familia cartel when he supposedly perished in a two-day gunbattle with federal police in December 2010 in Michoacan, his home state. No corpse was found then, however.

EL SALVADOR

Ex-guerrilla favored at polls

Salvadorans were expected to elect a former Marxist guerrilla as president in a runoff Sunday, favoring him over the conservative former mayor of the capital who has pledged to get tough on gang violence. Salvador Sanchez Ceren, 69, the candidate of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, would be the first true guerrilla to lead the Central American nation.

CHILE

Mishap ends global voyage

A British yachtsman who was trying to sail by himself nonstop around the world has been rescued by Chile’s navy. Andrew Halcrow, 54, was forced to give up his second attempt to circumnavigate the globe after the mast on his yacht broke in a storm west of Cape Horn. A Chilean naval helicopter flew him to the city of Punta Arenas on Sunday.

Compiled from wire reports.


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