Coastlines brace for tropical storms
Mexico braced for heavy rain and howling winds Thursday as Tropical Storm Larry strengthened and moved toward the southern Gulf coast, threatening more flooding in the already-soaked area.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Nora developed early Thursday off Mexico's Pacific coast and Hurricane Kate swirled in the Atlantic far from land.
As Larry's winds increased to 60 mph, Mexico declared storm warnings and a hurricane watch for the coast from Veracruz east to Campeche.
Weather officials said Larry was expected to become a very strong tropical storm or hurricane and possibly make landfall by the weekend.
Imprisoned American gets married in prison
Lori Berenson, an American serving a 20-year sentence for aiding leftist rebels, married a former inmate Thursday in a prison ceremony the groom was barred from attending because he is on parole.
Anibal Apari confirmed his marriage to Berenson, 33, after receiving a phone call from his bride. His father stood in for him during the nuptials in the Andean town of Cajamarca, 350 miles north of Lima.
"I'm married. Twenty minutes ago Lori called me and confirmed that we're husband and wife," Apari said.
The groom, 41, met Berenson while both were serving sentences for involvement with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement.
Ailing leader clears way for election of son
Azerbaijan's ailing leader Geidar Aliev on Thursday announced his withdrawal from the presidential election, passing the ruling party's mantle to his son in what could result in the first family succession in a former Soviet republic.
Opposition politicians and independent analysts have long predicted that Aliev, 80, would attempt to install his son, Ilham, as president.
However, the presidential administration previously denied such plans -- even as Aliev laid the ground for a transfer of power by pushing through constitutional changes, appointing his son prime minister and seeing to it that Ilham Aliev was registered as a candidate in the Oct. 15 election.
University names first female dean
A Saudi woman has been appointed a dean of the Arab Open University, the first time a woman has risen to such a position in the conservative kingdom.
Maha Abdullah Arkoubi will become dean of the Jiddah branch of the university, a Kuwaiti-based school with branches in several countries.
The appointment was announced by Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, the founder and head of the university, in a statement issued by the Arab Council for Childhood and Development. Prince Talal, a brother of Saudi King Fahd, leads the council.
The prince appointed Arkoubi to affirm the role of women in social development, the statement said.
Thousands protest against rebels
Tens of thousands of demonstrators surged into Ivory Coast's commercial center Thursday for the largest pro-government rally in months, a sign of increasing tensions over a stalled power-sharing agreement with rebels.
Authorities closed highways leading into the skyscraper-lined downtown, allowing a crowd of apparently more than 70,000 to flow into a central square for a rally against rebels, who have divided the West African country.