Rain stops hunt for missing boy

HEAVY rain stopped the search for a six-year-old boy who disappeared in New York in 1979.

Investigators had been digging up the basement of a building in SoHo, in New York City, but were forced to stop.

FBI spokesman Jim Margolin said the halt was for several reasons, including the weather. Heavy rains were expected in the region.

The search for Etan Patz was expected to resume this morning.

Vietnam visit for US Navy

VIETNAM is hosting a week-long exchange with the US Navy this week amid tensions with China.

Three ships from the US Navy began their five-day visit to central Danang city. No live-fire drills are planned, but the two sides are expected to practice salvage and disaster training.

Tensions flared in the South China Sea this month as two Chinese surveillance ships faced off with a Philippine coast guard vessel.

Dating fiesta in Spanish village

ORGANISERS of a dating association that introduces bachelors in rural Spanish villages to women bussed in from Madrid say they are trying to slow a population drain from the countryside.

Manuel Gozalo said Candeleda (population 6,000) hosted a fiesta to introduce its bachelors to 68 women.

Mr Gozalo set up the association, Asocamu, 17 years ago in a bid to shore up small agricultural communities.

He says the financial crisis, the lure of city jobs and the prospect of never finding brides has meant that many villages are falling into ruin.

Prayers at punk row church

TENS of thousands of people have prayed outside Moscow's main cathedral to show their support for the Russian Orthodox Church in a controversy over a punk rock political protest.

Christ the Saviour Cathedral was the scene of a brief surprise performance in February by a female punk rock group protesting against Vladimir Putin's return to the presidency.

Three members of the band Pussy Riot remain in police custody and face up to seven years in jail on charges of hooliganism.