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HIJACK IS FOILED, FANATIC ARRESTED

MEXICO CITY

A Bolivian religious fanatic briefly hijacked a jetliner from the beach resort of Cancun as it landed in Mexico City on Wednesday, police said. All passengers and the crew were released unharmed. Jose Flores, 44, carried a Bible and used a juice can he said was a bomb to hold the 103 passengers and crew on the tarmac for more than an hour. Masked police took back the aircraft, initially arresting four men as Flores said he had three companions. Flores told investigators he hijacked Aeromexico Flight 576 after a divine revelation, according to public safety officials. Flores said Wednesday's date - 9-9-09 - is the satanic number 666 turned upside down. Flores later told police his three companions were "the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost."

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MIAMI

Hurricane crosses Atlantic, but no threat

Hurricane Fred became the second major hurricane of the Atlantic season but remains far out at sea without threatening land. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Fred weakened slightly Wednesday but remained a Category 3 storm. Its projected five-day path will keep it over the open ocean until it loses steam. Fred's maximum sustained winds were near 115 mph.

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PAKISTAN

Four militants held in attacks on Christians

Police said Wednesday that four militants had been arrested and accused of involvement in the killings of Christians and riots on Aug. 1. At least seven people were killed when armed mobs of Muslims attacked a Christian colony in Gojra, in Punjab province, over a claim that a Koran had been defiled. More than 100 Christian-owned houses were burned, and dozens of people were wounded.

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Elsewhere

CHILD DEATHS: The number of children dying before their fifth birthdays each year has fallen below 9 million for the first time on record, a milestone in the global effort to improve children's chances of survival, according to data that UNICEF will release today.

BELGIUM: Cases of euthanasia in the Flanders region soared to nearly 2 percent of all deaths in 2007 after the country legalized the practice in 2002, a study by the Brussels-based Free University has shown.

MEDIA FINED: Turkey's Tax Ministry has imposed a $2.5 billion fine on a media group, Dogan Yayin, a conglomerate of newspapers and television stations that has been critical of the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

CHINA: The death toll from an explosion at an illegal coal mine in Henan province in central China rose to 42 Wednesday with another 37 men still trapped, while a fire at a gold mine in the same province killed 13 miners.

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