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World in brief

Bush sends more troops to Colombia

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 22, 2003

President Bush this week used his authority to exceed congressional limits on the number of U.S. military personnel allowed to be in Colombia, sending as many as 150 additional specialized troops to assist in the rescue of three American civilians believed to be in the hands of guerrillas since their plane crashed in a rebel stronghold last week, the Washington Post reported, quoting unnamed administration officials.

Colombia's defense minister said Friday that troops would try to rescue the three Americans only if the attempt wouldn't risk the hostages' lives. A fourth American and a Colombian army sergeant were executed at the site of the crash, authorities said.

U.S. to send more food to N. Korea

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday that the United States will announce shortly a new food donation to North Korea despite a developing crisis over the country's nuclear weapons programs and concerns about making sure the supplies get to the needy. Unconfirmed refugee reports say food has been diverted to the military.

There have been no U.S. food deliveries to North Korea since December. The United States donated more than 150,000 tons of food to North Korea last year, more than any other country.

Palestinians attack; two killed

JERUSALEM -- Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians on Friday while repelling separate attacks on an army outpost and a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, the army and militant groups said.

20-year terms sought for strike leaders

CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez demanded 20-year prison terms Friday for two prominent opponents who directed a nationwide strike that devastated Venezuela's oil-based economy.

Carlos Fernandez, head of Venezuela's largest business chamber, and Carlos Ortega, leader of its biggest labor confederation, are charged with treason and other crimes for the two-month strike.

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