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Storm forms, heads for Yucatan

Tropical Storm Claudette swiftly formed Tuesday over the Caribbean Sea and was forecast to become a hurricane as it churned toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

At 11 p.m., Claudette had sustained winds near 65 mph and was centered at latitude 15.2 N, longitude 73.1 W. It was over open sea, roughly 310 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.

The storm was moving west at 25 mph and could become a hurricane within 48 hours, forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

"Especially if it reduces its forward speed, it could develop to hurricane strength," said Lt. Dave Roberts, a Navy meteorologist at the center. "Right now it's in a favorable environment, so it just needs to get some time to pull itself together."

Tropical storm warnings were issued for Jamaica and Grand Cayman, and a tropical storm watch for Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Heavy rainfall of up to 6 inches was forecast in the storm's path.

Palestinian prime minister

says he may quit post

RAMALLAH, West Bank _ Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas threatened to quit as premier and resigned from a key body of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement Tuesday, reflecting turmoil within the Palestinian leadership over negotiations with Israel.

The move came just hours after Islamic militants claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that left an elderly Israeli woman dead, and threatened more attacks unless Israel agreed to release the thousands of Palestinian prisoners that it holds.

Abbas has been facing strong pressure within his Fatah movement to adopt a tough line on the prisoner releases. In a letter to Arafat, he said he would step down as premier unless he gets clear instructions from Fatah over how to handle contacts with Israel.

British Columbia court

permits gay marriages

TORONTO _ British Columbia became the second Canadian province to allow same-sex marriage under a court ruling Tuesday, and two men were wed shortly afterward in Vancouver.

The decision by the province's Court of Appeal further increased pressure on the Canadian government to follow through with plans to rewrite federal law that defines marriage as between man and woman.

An Ontario court issued a similar ruling last month.

N. Korea, U.S. to talk again

about soldiers' remains

WASHINGTON _ After a monthslong stalemate, North Korea and the United States have agreed to resume talks on recovering remains of American servicemen killed in the Korean War, officials said Tuesday.

The talks are to open Thursday in Bangkok, Thailand, according to Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Defense Department office responsible for accounting for missing American service personnel.

2 Americans, Australian

hurt in running of bulls

PAMPLONA, Spain _ Bulls gored two Americans and an Australian on Tuesday, the second day of Pamplona's annual runs with the bulls.

One of the Americans, Al Chesson, 57, from Pittsburgh, was gored twice in the right thigh and once in the groin.

The other was identified as Dallas Hatchcock, 24, from Los Angeles, with a jab in the left arm.

The Australian was identified as Nicolas Headlam, 29, with an 8-inch gash in the chest. None of the three had life-threatening injuries, the news agency Efe said.

German Jewish leader

quits in cocaine scandal

FRANKFURT, Germany _ A German Jewish leader and controversial talk show host apologized Tuesday and said he would give up all official posts after he was fined for cocaine possession in a drug scandal that has filled newspaper headlines for weeks.

Michel Friedman, 47, stepped down as deputy head of Germany's Central Council of Jews, where he was the most visible voice of the country's Jewish community. He also gave up his show, the broadcaster announced Tuesday, and was expected to quit as president of the European Jewish Congress.

Also . . .

COLOMBIA WINS CERTIFICATION: Secretary of State Colin Powell has certified to Congress that the Colombian government and armed forces are meeting standards set by Congress for protecting human rights and severing ties with rightist paramilitary groups, the State Department said Tuesday. That frees $31.6-million in assistance for Colombia's security forces.

600 MISSING AFTER FERRY SINKS IN BANGLADESH: A ferry capsized today in a confluence of three rivers in southern Bangladesh and rescue officials said about 600 people were missing and feared dead. It was carrying at least 750 people.

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