World Briefs

Aid workers rescued from Afghan militants

KABUL, Afghanistan – British and other NATO forces stormed a cave tucked in the mountains before dawn Saturday and rescued two foreign female aid workers and their two Afghan colleagues being held hostage by Taliban-linked militants.

Helicopters, flying under the cover of darkness, ferried the rescue team to extreme northeastern Afghanistan, where they suspected the hostages were being held.

After confirming the workers were there, they raided the site, killed several militants and freed the hostages, ending their nearly two-week ordeal.

Helen Johnston, 28, from Britain, and Moragwa Oirere, 26, from Kenya, and their two Afghan colleagues were kidnapped May 22 while traveling on horseback in Badakhshan province.

The four work for Medair, a humanitarian nongovernmental organization based near Lausanne, Switzerland.

Leader: Spain sticking with austerity measures

MADRID – Spain will stick to harsh austerity measures until it emerges from financial crisis, the prime minister said Saturday, promising that the country would survive the present economic turmoil.

Mariano Rajoy acknowledged that the country is experiencing turbulence but said “we are not at the edge of a precipice, we will not sink.”

Spain, where unemployment stands at a Eurozone high of 24.4 percent, has imposed spending cuts and tax increases to escape a crisis many fear eventually could swallow other countries using the European single currency.

U.S. Defense secretary to visit base in Vietnam

SINGAPORE – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is set to visit the former U.S. air and naval base at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, becoming the most senior American official to go there since the war ended.

Panetta says he hopes to encourage efforts with Vietnam to locate and identify more of the U.S. war dead who are still missing.

He plans to visit the USNS Richard E. Byrd, a cargo ship operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command.

The ship has a largely civilian crew and is used to move military supplies to U.S. forces around the world.

The U.S. military’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command has six recovery teams and two investigative teams in Vietnam searching for troop remains.

There are about 1,200 unaccounted for service members believed to be in Vietnam.

Victims of war killings buried in Bosnia

KALESIJA, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Thousands gathered Saturday in the northeast Bosnian town of Kalesija to bury the remains of 32 Muslim Bosniaks killed by Bosnian Serb forces at the start of the country’s 1992-95 war.

They were victims of a brutal campaign to remove the non-Serb population from the nearby town of Zvornik and other areas the Serbs controlled.

The bodies of the victims were found in mass graves, identified through DNA analysis and buried at a cemetery in Kalesija where hundreds of victims previously found already have been laid to rest.

A total 1,998 people were killed in Zvornik during the campaign. The bodies of 611 are still missing.

The Associated Press