INDIA

Nationalists leading in poll

India’s Hindu nationalist opposition party is leading the incumbent Congress party in the run-up to this year’s national elections in the world’s biggest democracy, a poll released Wednesday says. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Narendra Modi, trounced Congress in recent state polls which were seen as a gauge of voter sentiment in the nation of 1.2 billion. The general election must be held by May. The Pew Research Center poll said the Indian public, by a margin of more than three-to-one, would prefer BJP to lead the next government over Congress.

HONG KONG

Editor attacked with cleaver

The former editor of a Hong Kong newspaper whose abrupt dismissal in January sparked protests over press freedom was in critical condition after being hacked Wednesday by an assailant with a meat cleaver, police said. Police said a man wearing a motorcycle helmet attacked Kevin Lau in a residential neighborhood and then fled on a motorcycle driven by another man. Lau, 49, was hospitalized with slashes in his back and legs.

SPAIN

Flamenco guitar icon dies

Paco de Lucia, one of the world’s greatest guitarists who dazzled audiences with his lightning-speed flamenco rhythms and finger work, has died in Mexico, Spanish officials said Wednesday. He was 66. De Lucia suffered a heart attack while on vacation at the Caribbean beach resort of Playa del Carmen and died in a hospital

NORTHERN IRELAND

Leader threatens to resign

The leader of Northern Ireland’s unity government threatened to resign Wednesday because of revelations the British government supplied so-called “get out of jail free” letters to at least 187 Irish Republican Army fugitives as a secret part of peacemaking. First Minister Peter Robinson said his British Protestant party, the Democratic Unionists, would never have formed a coalition with Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party, in 2007 had Britain revealed it was giving written guarantees to IRA veterans who fled to the Republic of Ireland.

Compiled from wire reports.