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WASHINGTON - Singer Chris Brown's trial on an assault charge was put on hold for months Wednesday after prosecutors declined to grant immunity to his bodyguard, who would be a key witness in the case.

Brown will remain in custody for the near future after a Los Angeles judge denied a request by the Grammy-winning singer's attorney to release him from custody while he awaits trial.

STARKE, Fla. - Florida has executed a man convicted of murdering two relatives to prevent one of them from testifying against him in a burglary trial.

Robert Hendrix was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m. (2221 GMT) at Florida State Prison in Starke, shortly after the lethal injection procedure began.

Prosecutors say that in August 1990, Hendrix shot, hit and stabbed his cousin, Elmer Scott, in his trailer home. They say he then cut the throat of Scott's wife, Michelle, and shot her.

ATLANTA - A 9-year-old Atlanta boy who police say was abducted for a short time from his driveway is being praised by community leaders for his calm as he sang the gospel song "Every Praise" until the man released him.

Willie Myrick recounted the story at a recent gathering in his honour. He says as he sang, the man drove around and was cursing before eventually letting him go unharmed last month.

WXIA-TV reports (http://on.11alive.com/1h9tLnb) that Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Hezekiah Walker, who performed the song, travelled to Atlanta to meet the boy.

NEW YORK - More exotic creatures thrive in the shadows of summer blockbusters. Here are 10 of the most anticipated indie films due this summer, nary a caped superhero or city-crushing monster among them.

1. "The Rover" (June 13) — David Michod's follow-up to his Aussie crime drama "Animal Kingdom" qualifies as a must-see because of the rare quality of his feature film debut. This one, which will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson and is set in a near-future Australia where the world economy has collapsed and bandits roam the Outback.

CLEVELAND - Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity they experienced.

Rivers and her daughter were discussing their reality show Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show when she complained about her living arrangements, saying, "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space."

DONETSK, Ukraine - Russia's foreign minister warned Wednesday that attacks on Russian citizens or interests in Ukraine would bring a firm response and drew a comparison to the circumstances that opened the war with Georgia in 2008.

"Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, a day after Ukraine announced it was re-launching a campaign against pro-Kremlin insurgents occupying government facilities in the mostly Russian-speaking east.

KINSHASA, Congo - Officials in Congo say a freight train has derailed in the country's southeast, killing around 50 people.

A union official, Fernandez Tshibondo, said the train jumped the tracks Tuesday near the station at Katongola, a town in Congo's Katanga province.

Government spokesman Lambert Mende said Wednesday that police had counted around 50 dead, but the toll could go higher. It is common in Congo for people to jump onto freight trains for a free ride.

The cause was not immediately clear, and Mende said an investigation has been opened.

GREELEY, Colo. - School officials in northern Colorado are asking parents to take care with their newly legal recreational marijuana, after fourth graders were caught dealing the drug on an elementary school campus.

John Gates, director of safety for Weld County School District 6, said Wednesday that the students involved, three 10-year-old boys and a 10-year-old girl at Greeley's Monfort Elementary School, faced tough discipline but not suspension or expulsion. He would not elaborate on their punishment.

OTTAWA - The Russian invasion of Crimea is making Alberta's oil and gas more attractive in European capitals, says Poland's ambassador to Canada.

Poland supports the idea of importing Canadian oil and gas, envoy Marcin Bosacki said Wednesday prior to the start of a two-day visit to his country by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

"This point of view is being shared in a growing number of European capitals in the last two months since the Crimea invasion," Bosacki said.

VICTORIA - McDonald's Canada says temporary foreign workers are a necessary ingredient in the fast-food chain's business model, but until the company satisfies itself and Canadians it doesn't abuse the federal jobs initiative, its use of the program is on hold.

Stung by recent criticism of its use of temporary foreign workers, McDonald's senior vice-president of human resources Len Jillard said Wednesday the firm needs to suspend the program while an audit by a third party determines if there have been violations or abuse of workers — foreign or Canadian.

MONTREAL - Montreal's business community urged Finance Minister Joe Oliver on Wednesday to "reconsider" Ottawa's efforts to create a national securities regulator.

"All solutions that will be chosen must respect that willingness of Montreal and Quebec to develop their competencies to regulate financial markets," board of trade president Michel Leblanc said while introducing Oliver for his first speech in Quebec since his appointment a month ago.

OTTAWA - Jason Kenney is defending the government's controversial temporary foreign workers program even as a major fast-food chain freezes its participation and a respected economist casts fresh doubt on the extent of Canada's skills shortage.

In Manitoba on Wednesday, the federal employment minister reiterated that employers who abuse the program could face fraud charges and jail time. The program remains under review and further changes will be announced soon, he added.

OKLAHOMA CITY - A member of the Oklahoma legislature drafted a resolution Wednesday seeking the impeachment of state Supreme Court justices who granted a delay of execution to two death row inmates.

Republican state Rep. Mike Christian told The Associated Press that the five justices engaged in a "wilful neglect of duty" when they granted stays of execution Monday to Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner, both of whom were scheduled to be executed this month.

BEIRUT - Syrian government forces have attacked rebel-held areas with poisonous chlorine gas in recent weeks and months, leaving men, women and children coughing, choking and gasping for breath, according to Associated Press interviews with more than a dozen activists, medics and residents on the opposition side.

Syria flatly denied the allegations, and they have yet to be confirmed by any foreign country or international organization. But if true, they highlight the limitations of the global effort to rid President Bashar Assad's government of its chemical weapons.

LOS ANGELES - Jodie Foster is a married woman.

The 51-year-old Oscar winner wed girlfriend Alexandra Hedison over the weekend, Foster's publicist confirmed Wednesday. Jennifer Allen offered no other details.

E! was the first to report that Foster tied the knot with Hedison, a 44-year-old photographer based in Los Angeles.

It's the first marriage for Foster, who came out publicly in a rambling, heartfelt speech at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards, where she accepted lifetime achievement honours.

A controversial Italian-made plane ordered by former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli a decade ago is on the auction block.

MOSCOW - The founder of Russia's leading social media network — a wunderkind often described as Russia's Mark Zuckerberg — has left his post as CEO and fled the country as cronies of President Vladimir Putin have made steady inroads into the company's ownership.

The slow-motion ouster of Pavel Durov from the network known as VKontakte, or "In Contact," is the latest sign that independent media outlets in Russia have become increasingly imperiled.

TORONTO - After nearly two decades, an Ontario court has dismissed the last two lawsuits involving the Bre-X Minerals scandal, which resulted in investors losing an estimated $1 billion.

In a ruling Wednesday, Ontario Superior Justice Paul Perell said the case will no longer continue because there is "no reasonable prospect of recovery from any of the defendants, even if the outstanding actions were successful."

The motions to dismiss were brought by lawyers for the plaintiffs.

OTTAWA - Both federal opposition parties are demanding to know where the country's CF-18s are headed in eastern Europe and what they'll be doing as tension rises throughout the region.

Russia threatened on Wednesday to attack Ukraine if its "legitimate interests" were threatened during security operations ordered by Kyiv to root out anti-government protesters, and Moscow called snap military exercises in response to a U.S.-led series of troop-training exercises in the region.

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CAIRO - A senior Egyptian police officer was killed by a bomb placed under his car in a western Cairo suburb Wednesday, the latest in a series of targeted attacks on police and the military as Islamic militant groups keep up a campaign of violence since last summer's ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

OTTAWA - Canada will send up to 500 people to monitor Ukraine's presidential election next month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday.

The Canadian delegation is to include up to 338 people in an election observation mission.

"Canada is a world leader in helping to promote democracy and good governance in Ukraine," Harper said in a statement.

"The measures announced today will help ensure that the upcoming Ukrainian elections are free and fair and that democracy and governance are the cornerstones of the new government."

OTTAWA - The federal New Democrats want to see Canadian Forces peacekeepers on the ground in the Central African Republic to prevent genocide.

Paul Dewar, the NDP's foreign affairs critic, urged the government to respond to a United Nations call for peacekeeping assistance, saying such missions are part of Canada's historic role on the world stage.

Dewar said Canada and the Western world must heed the lesson of the Rwanda genocide that left 800,000 civilians dead 20 years ago this month.

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agreed Wednesday to form a unity government and hold new elections — a potentially historic step toward mending the rift that has split their people between two sets of rulers for seven years.

Following the announcement of the deal, hundreds of people took to the streets in Gaza to celebrate. Crowds hoisted Palestinian flags and posters.