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Dozens of militants tunnel out of prison

SANA, Yemen (AP) -- Nearly 60 suspected al-Qaida militants tunneled their way out of a prison in lawless southern Yemen on Wednesday, deepening the chaos of a nation where protesters are trying to topple the autocratic regime.

The escape from the Mukalla prison in Hadramout province is the latest sign that Islamic militants are seizing on the mayhem to operate more freely, something the United States fears will become an increasing international threat if the impoverished nation grows even more unstable. Hundreds of Islamic militants have also taken control of two southern towns in recent weeks.

Already, much of Yemen has been paralyzed by months of massive protests demanding the ouster of longtime leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. The crisis shifted to armed street conflict between troops loyal to Saleh and rival tribal fighters.

The president of nearly 33 years was badly wounded in an attack on his Sana compound earlier this month, and his departure for medical treatment in neighboring Saudi Arabia has failed to break the deadlock.



Declassified papers affirm torture denial

TORONTO (AP) -- Canada released declassified documents Wednesday that it said show that its soldiers did not know about the purported torture of prisoners by Afghan authorities.

The documents' release comes about two years after a senior Canadian diplomat first alleged that government and military officials ignored evidence that Taliban prisoners handed over to Afghanistan's intelligence service were being tortured.

The issue was debated in Parliament and prompted the creation of a small committee made up of members of all parties to examine documents related to the treatment of Afghan detainees.

"The allegations of improper conduct are unfounded, and critics' accusations of Canadian complicity with torture or even war crimes are simply not true," Foreign Minister John Baird said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government released 4,000 of about 40,000 classified pages on the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan. Baird said that brings the matter to a close.



Coastal cruise coverage attracts huge audience

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- Live coverage of a cruise ship plying the scenic coast of Norway was watched by an astounding 2.5 million viewers -- half the country's population -- according to public broadcaster NRK.

The programming ended its five-day run Wednesday when Queen Sonja welcomed the ship in the Arctic port of Kirkenes. The sensational popularity of the show, which inspired spontaneous gatherings and flag-waving along the ship's route, seems to have surprised just about everyone.

"We have 'Mad Men' on DVD, but the feeling of participating in this journey in real time won't come again," columnist Vidar Kvalshaug wrote.

NRK placed 11 cameras on the MS NordNorge as it sailed 1,500 miles from Bergen in southwest Norway to Kirkenes, near the Russian border.

The pictures were accompanied by occasional commentary from passengers, music and natural sound of the ship's humming engines and its blaring horn.

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