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16 killed in Philippine bomb blast

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 3, 2003

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine president ordered a "total war" on terrorists after a bomb exploded Wednesday near a bustling wharf in the southern port of Davao, killing at least 16 people, including two children.

Forty people were injured in the blast, the second in Davao in less than a month. The death toll would have been higher if the nation was not already on high alert for terror acts, officials said.

The government said it was looking for similarities to a March 4 blast that was blamed on a Muslim rebel group. That bombing killed 21 people, including an American missionary.

The separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front condemned Wednesday's bombing and denied responsibility for the previous one.

Polish minister resigns; early elections possible

WARSAW, Poland -- Prime Minister Leszek Miller offered Wednesday to hold early elections as a second Cabinet member resigned, dealing another blow to his shaky minority government of reformed Communists.

Miller proposed moving up Poland's next parliamentary election to June 13, 2004, more than a year ahead of schedule.

The turmoil deepened Wednesday when Treasury Minister Slawomir Cytrycki resigned in a dispute with Miller over the government's long-delayed sale of Poland's largest insurance company.

Israeli military invades Palestinian refugee camp

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Israeli tanks backed by attack helicopters invaded a refugee camp near the Gaza-Egypt border late Wednesday, clashing with gunmen and killing four Palestinians, doctors said.

Earlier, Israeli troops rounded up hundreds of men in a sweep of the West Bank town of Tulkarem and demolished the home of a jailed Palestinian accused in a string of attacks.

Elsewhere ...

U.N. TO DISCUSS NORTH KOREA: The U.N. Security Council has agreed to discuss North Korea's nuclear crisis Wednesday, a day before its withdrawal from a key nonproliferation treaty becomes final, diplomats said Wednesday.

CHARGES AGAINST FUJIMORI: For the sixth time in two years, Peruvian lawmakers approved criminal charges Wednesday against exiled former President Alberto Fujimori, this time accusing him of illegally searching the home of his former intelligence chief.

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