Inauguration day rough for new leader

CARACAS - Inauguration day didn't go well for the man picked to lead Venezuela's socialist revolution for the next six years.

Hours before his swearing-in, fellow South American leaders pushed President Nicolas Maduro into a concession allowing a full audit of the razor-thin vote that the opposition says he won by fraud. Then the massive crowds that used to pack the streets for late leader Hugo Chavez failed to appear.

Finally, a spectator rushed the stage and interrupted Maduro's inaugural speech, shouting into the microphone before he was tackled by security in an embarrassing gaffe.


Letter threatens press freedom group

MEXICO CITY - The director of Mexico's chapter of the press freedom group Article 19 says the organization received a threatening letter and that he has filed a complaint with authorities.

Dario Ramirez said the typewritten letter that threatened him and the group's employees was slid under the door of their Mexico City offices before they arrived Friday morning. The message threatens Ramirez with "beating him until his heart stops."

Press advocates have long called Mexico one of the most dangerous nations for reporters.


Man dies as outbreak of measles spreads

LONDON - U.K. authorities say a 25-year-old man is suspected to have died from measles as an epidemic continues to sweep across south Wales.

The outbreak has led to more than 800 infections and renewed discussions over the failure of some parents to vaccinate their children against the potentially fatal virus.

The most effective way of fighting it remains the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, often abbreviated MMR, but a vocal anti-vaccine movement has helped push measles cases to an 18-year high in England and Wales.


10 officers injured in fight with refugees

AMMAN - Ten Jordan-ian policemen were injured in a riot that erupted at a Syrian refugee camp near the Jordan-Syria border, according to a Jordanian official.

Anmar Hmoud said the Friday afternoon riot in the Zaatari camp occurred after a handful of refugees tried to sneak out.

Hmoud, a government spokesman for the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, said that when police stopped them, 100 other refugees turned up, showering the policemen with stones. Police said tear gas was used to disperse the crowd.

Zaatari is home to 150,000 refugees. An additional 350,000 Syrians have found shelter in local communities.


Attacks on mosques kill 9 worshippers

BAGHDAD - Mortar shells and bombs targeted worshippers shortly after noon prayers on Friday at two mosques north of Baghdad, killing nine people and wounding more than two dozen others, police said.

It's unclear what prompted the attacks, but violence has been on the rise ahead of provincial elections set for today. The vote is for local officials in several provinces across the country, including the capital, Baghdad. Authorities have pledged to bolster security for the elections.


President: Casinos will restart economy

NICOSIA - Cyprus' president said Friday that the bailed-out country will open casinos and bolster its tourism sector to get the economy going again.

Nicos Anastasiades unveiled a first batch of measures he said are designed to boost growth in an economy that is projected to shrink by 13 percent until 2015. Anastasiades included casino openings among campaign pledges before his election in February.


Chinese trawler continues to burn

A Chilean air force plane checked on a Chinese fishing ship that caught fire in Antarctica and confirmed Friday that the vessel is still in flames.

The Kai Xin caught fire off the coast of Antarctica on Wednesday and its 97 crew members were rescued by a Norwegian ship. Then it began to drift unmanned, zigzagging dangerously close to sharp glaciers.

Wire reports