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Cover-up claim on CIA flights

A MAJORITY of 28 mostly-European countries have failed to comply with freedom of information requests about their involvement in secret CIA flights carrying suspected terrorists, two human rights groups say.

London-based Reprieve and Madrid-based Access Info Europe accused European nations of covering up their complicity in the so-called "extraordinary rendition" programme by failing to release flight-traffic data that could show the paths of the planes.

The groups said only seven countries had supplied the requested information with five saying they no longer had the data, three refusing to release it and 13 not replying.

Hopes fade for oil rig victims

Time appears to be running out for 39 people still missing almost two days after an oil rig capsized as it was being towed back to port and sank off the eastern coast of Russia.

The owner of the Kolskaya floating platform said life rafts with people aboard were spotted in the Sea of Okhotsk. The chances of survival in the 1C (33.9F) water appeared slim.

Of the 67 men aboard, 14 were plucked alive from the icy water. Workers have since pulled out 10 bodies from the sea.

Blaze at Japan nuclear plant

Japan'S Atomic Energy Agency extinguished a fire that broke out today in a building housing a research nuclear reactor northeast of Tokyo, public broadcaster NHK Television reported on its website.

No one was injured and no radiation leaked to the environment, it said.

Forces kill 120 in Syrian chaos

Syria security forces killed 120 people, including 72 defecting soldiers in the northern governorate of Idlib, it has been reported.

The deaths were among the highest in a single day since the start of the eruption of an uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad in mid-March, in which 5,000 people have died.

The news came as the government signed a protocol to allow Arab monitors into the country yesterday.