Polish journalist abducted in Syria in July is alive - foreign minister

WARSAW, Poland - A Polish journalist who was taken hostage by Islamist militants in northwest Syria in July is alive, Poland's foreign minister said yesterday. Marcin Suder was abducted from an opposition media office in the rebel-held town of Saraqeb in Idlib province. He was working alone for Polish photo agency Studio Melon. Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told radio RMF FM that Suder was alive but declined to give any other details. Poland has set up a team of specialists based in Warsaw and its embassies in the Middle East to deal with Suder's case. He is the only Pole to have been taken hostage in the two and a half year conflict in Syria that has killed more than 100,000. (Reuters)

Police: Man who set himself ablaze on Washington’s National Mall dies

WASHINGTON — A District of Columbia police spokesman says a man who set himself on fire on the National Mall has died of his injuries. Officer Araz Alali says the man died Friday night at a Washington hospital where he had been airlifted. He says the man was so badly burned that he will need to be identified through DNA and dental records. The man poured a can of gasoline on himself in the center portion of the mall Friday afternoon. He then set himself on fire, with passing joggers taking off their shirts to help douse the flames. Police are investigating the man's possible motives. (The Associated Press)

Irish vote against abolition of Senate

Voters in Ireland rejected a government plan to abolish the upper house of parliament, the Senate, according to the official results of a referendum released yesterday. The combined results of 43 constituencies showed that 51.7 percent voted against abolition of the Senate, while 48.3 percent voted in favor in Friday's poll. The result is a defeat for the government, which claimed the Senate was too costly to run in hard economic times. The government claimed abolition would save taxpayers 20 million euros ($27 million). Minister Simon Coveney said the government would have to respect the people's decision and "get on and make it work for the country." (DPA)