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World in brief

Politics may stall Mideast peace plan

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 21, 2003

JERUSALEM -- A showdown between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister-designate Mahmoud Abbas over control of Palestinian security forces threatened Sunday to delay a U.S.-backed Middle East peace plan that many hoped would progress quickly after the war in Iraq.

Abbas was said to have threatened to give up if Arafat continued to reject his list of proposed ministers, while some Palestinian officials were urging Arafat to consider alternative candidates for prime minister.

Arafat must relinquish day-to-day control of the Palestinian Authority to a new prime minister by Wednesday to set in motion the "road map" to peace that was drafted by the United States, Britain, Russia and the European Union.

Colombia's military seeks kidnap victims

BOGOTA, Colombia -- The Colombian navy and national police were searching Sunday for eight people kidnapped by 20 gunmen who raided a small island off Colombia's Caribbean coast, authorities said.

Also Sunday, soldiers killed 16 members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC -- Colombia's largest rebel army -- in eastern Antioquia state, the army said.

Elsewhere . . .

LANDSLIDE KILLS 34: A landslide swept through a village in southern Kyrgyzstan on Sunday, killing 34 people, an official said. The landslide buried 11 homes in the village of Sogot, said Berdikul Sultanov, first deputy head of the regional administration.

NIGERIAN ELECTION: President Olusegun Obasanjo led his nearest challenger by a large margin Sunday in initial returns from nationwide elections. Obasanjo had about 75 percent of the 10-million votes counted -- about 20 percent of the total cast Saturday -- with Muhammadu Buhari, his main rival, receiving 20 percent.

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