NEW YORK

Disgraced ex-congressman launches bid for mayor

Anthony Weiner knows there may be a lot of New Yorkers who would never consider voting for him again, but he says he’s running for mayor because he wants to bring his ideas to the fore — and win.

“I don’t kid myself. I know that this is going to be a difficult slog,” the former congressman, whose career imploded in a rash of raunchy tweets two years ago, said by phone Wednesday after officially launching his mayoral bid.

With a $4.8 million campaign war chest and possibly $1 million more in public matching money, a resume that includes seven terms in Congress, polls showing him ahead of all but one other Democrat, and certainly no end of name recognition, Weiner is certain to add drama to the most competitive mayoral race in more than a decade. His participation makes a Democratic primary runoff more likely, and many political observers feel he could at least get to the second round.

PHOENIX

Death penalty divides jury in Jodi Arias murder trial

Jurors in the Jodi Arias murder trial said Wednesday they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether she should be sentenced to life in prison or death for killing her one-time boyfriend, prompting the judge to instruct them to keep trying.

The panel reported its impasse after only about two and a half hours of deliberations. Judge Sherry Stephens told jurors to try to identify areas of agreement and disagreement as they work toward a decision.

The jury then continued deliberating until late afternoon, when it adjourned for the day without a decision. Deliberations were set to resume at 10 a.m. local time on Thursday.

Under Arizona law, a hung jury in the death penalty phase of a trial requires a new jury to be seated to decide the punishment.

ROME

Captain to stand trial for cruise ship tragedy

An Italian judge has ordered the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship to stand trial for manslaughter in the vessel’s shipwreck off the coast of Tuscany, which killed 32 people.

Judge Pietro Molino, at a closed-door hearing Wednesday agreed to prosecutors’ request that Capt. Francesco Schettino of Italy be tried on charges of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the vessel while many of its 4,200 passengers and crew were still aboard.

On the night of Jan. 13, 2012, the Concordia hit a jagged reef, which gashed its hull on one side, causing the ship to rapidly take on water just off the island of Giglio in the Mediterranean Sea.

Schettino will be the only defendant in the trial, which begins July 9. The five other defendants successfully sought plea bargains.

PYONGYANG, North Korea

Kim Jong Un dispatches top official to China for talks

After months of ignoring Chinese warnings to give up nuclear weapons, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a high-level confidant to Beijing on Wednesday, in a possible effort to mend strained ties with his country’s most important ally and a sign that he may be giving diplomacy a chance.

The trip by Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae, a senior Workers’ Party official and the military’s top political officer, is taking place as tensions ease somewhat on the Korean Peninsula after near-daily vows from Pyongyang to attack Washington and Seoul in March and April.

Choe’s visit is the first this year by a top North Korean official to China, which is under pressure from the U.S. and others to rein in its belligerent neighbor. It’s also the first since a change of leadership in Beijing, whose new leaders have demonstrated a willingness to work with Washington on North Korea.