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Suicide truck bomber hits Somali hotel, kills 9

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A suicide bomber rammed a truck rigged with explosives into the blast walls around one of Mogadishu's most secure hotels, severely damaging the building and killing nine people, including a Chinese diplomat, Somalia's foreign minister said Sunday.

Abdisalam Omer said a Kenyan diplomat also was wounded in the attack.

The attack was claimed by the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group and also wounded some 20 people. The walled, luxury Jazeera Hotel is considered the most secure in Somalia's capital and is frequented by diplomats, foreigners and visiting heads of state. —AP

Mexico's search for missing students turns up 129 bodies

MEXICO CITY — The search for 43 missing college students in the southern state of Guerrero has turned up at least 60 clandestine graves and 129 bodies over the last 10 months, Mexico's Attorney General's Office says.

None of the remains has been connected to the youths who disappeared after a clash with police in the city of Iguala on Sept. 26, and authorities do not believe any will be. Prosecutors say the students were turned over to a drug gang that killed them and incinerated their bodies in a case that has put attention on the huge number of people who have gone missing in Guerrero and other Mexican states where drug violence is widespread.

The number of bodies and graves found from October to May could possibly be higher than in its report, the Attorney General's Office said, because its response to a freedom of information request covers only those instances in which its mass grave specialists got involved. —AP

Syria's Assad acknowledges army's manpower shortage

BEIRUT — In his first public address in a year, embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad vowed Sunday to win his country's long-running civil war while acknowledging that his troops had lost territory to rebel forces and were running short on manpower.

Assad's speech, while confident, came in the fifth year of a conflict pitting his forces against rebels, Islamist insurgents and the extremist Islamic State.

Assad's televised speech Sunday morning was his first public address since he was sworn in for a third, seven-year term in July last year. Assad has given interviews to several media outlets in the meantime.

Assad acknowledged that his generals have had to move forces from one front to another in order to protect areas that are militarily, politically or economically more important.

"We are not collapsing. We are steadfast and will achieve victory," said Assad, who was interrupted several times by applause. "Defeat does not exist in the dictionary of the Syrian Arab army." —AP

U.S. Embassy employee in Pakistan killed by gunmen

ISLAMABAD — Police say gunmen killed a local employee of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, though a motive for the attack is still unclear.

Police identified the dead employee as Iqbal Baig, saying he worked for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. They say Baig was killed early Sunday at his home.

Baig belonged to a minority Muslim Shiite sect known as the Ismaili. Ismailis largely live in peace in Sunni-dominated Pakistan, though Islamic extremists in the country view Shiites as heretics. Gunmen in May shot and killed 50 Ismailis in the southern port city of Karachi. —AP

Cocaine, prostitutes undo member of House of Lords

LONDON — The deputy speaker of the House of Lords resigned his position after publication of photos and a video allegedly showing him using cocaine with prostitutes.

Lords Speaker Baroness D'Souza on Sunday called John Sewel's alleged behavior "shocking and unacceptable" and said she is calling in police to investigate.

She said Sewel has stepped down from his special position in Britain's upper house. He remains a member of the House of Lords.

The Sun on Sunday newspaper published photographs of him naked and appearing to snort cocaine along with snippets of his conversations with women said to be prostitutes. —AP

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