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World in brief

Bombs cool India-Pakistan relations

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 27, 2003

BOMBAY, India - The death toll from two powerful bombs planted on Monday in taxis rose to 52 on Tuesday, as the blasts threatened to derail a fragile reconciliation between India and Pakistan.

On a visit to the blast sites and a hospital where dozens of victims were still recovering, the deputy prime minister, Lal Krishna Advani, launched a blistering attack on India's neighbor and nuclear rival, saying terrorism in India was an outgrowth of Pakistan's frustration at its own lack of progress.

He blamed the bombs on Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, a group based in Pakistan that is seeking to liberate the part of Kashmir governed by India, and on a banned, Indian group, the Students Islamic Movement of India.

"This itself tells about the involvement of Pakistan in terrorist activities carried out throughout the country," he said. "The neighbor's target is not merely destabilizing Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Delhi, but also to destabilize the entire country."

Six-nation talks on North Korea begin in China

BEIJING - Hoping for a breakthrough, diplomats from six nations convened in the Chinese capital today for talks to resolve East Asia's most urgent security concern - North Korea's nuclear program and demands by the United States that it stand down immediately.

China, the host country, called for a "calm and patient attitude" for the meetings, put together after months of intense diplomacy. Envoys for the United States and North Korea shook hands, as did others, before they got down to business.

South Korea, Russia and Japan also are participating.

U.S. officials say they believe North Korea has one or two nuclear weapons, and experts believe it could produce five to six more in a few months. North Korea has walked away from a number of international agreements in recent months, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Rwandan challenger decries election results

KIGALI, Rwanda - Nine years after a genocide that killed more than 500,000, Rwandans voted overwhelmingly for incumbent Paul Kagame in the country's first real presidential election, the electoral commission said Tuesday.

Kagame's chief challenger, Faustin Twagiramungu, refused to accept the result, which gave the incumbent 95 percent of the vote, and said voters were intimidated into voting for him.

"We have been struggling to have a democratic process in Rwanda. Now we end up with a typical one-party system," he said. "I don't accept these elections."

Colette Flesch, the head of the European Union observer team, said she could not comment on irregularities until all 65 EU observers filed their reports. That will happen late today or Thursday.

Turnout was reported at 97 percent of the country's 3.9-million registered voters.

Colombian air force commander retires

BOGOTA, Colombia - The commander of the Colombian Air Force retired Tuesday, saying he leaves with "a clean conscience" despite U.S. complaints that he stalled probes into an alleged air force attack that killed 17 civilians.

Colombian Defense Minister Martha Lucia Ramirez said the United States had pushed for Gen. Hector Fabio Velasco's ouster, but insisted that was not the reason he quit.

U.S. diplomats in Bogota have privately complained that Colombia was stalling in its investigation of the bombing of the eastern village of Santo Domingo in December 1998.

Ruins at disputed site resemble Hindu temple

LUCKNOW, India - Archaeologists say the ruins of an ancient structure buried beneath a disputed site in northern India resemble a Hindu temple, according to a report. Rival Hindu and Muslim claims to the site have sparked riots and attacks that have killed thousands of people.

A series of lotus designs, circular shrines and pillars in a long-buried structure "are indicative of remains which are distinctive features found associated with the (Hindu) temples of north India," said the report by the Archaeological Survey of India, obtained by the Associated Press.

Elsewhere . . .

HURRICANE IGNACIO: The storm that was Hurricane Ignacio hit western Mexico at barely tropical storm force Tuesday, cutting off the state capital and the tourist resort of Los Cabos with mudslides and washed out roads and leaving behind stranded travelers.

HAITI PLANE CRASH: A plane that crashed in Haiti Sunday, killing all 21 people aboard, had its engines replaced three weeks earlier and was dangerously overloaded, officials said Tuesday.

The Tropical Airways Let L-410 took off with too many passengers and too much baggage, a senior manager at the Cap-Haitien airport told the Associated Press.

ROLLER COASTER RECORD: American Richard Rodriguez set a world record for roller-coaster riding Tuesday, surpassing his mark of 147 hours after six days of careening rides in a German amusement park, organizers said.

Rodriguez, 43, followed Guinness Book of World Records rules requiring eight-hour periods of riding with no more than 15-minute breaks, the Holiday Park said. He plans to stop this week after reaching 195 hours.

WAR CRIMES SUSPECT: NATO troops in Bosnia on Tuesday gathered outside the home of Radovan Karadzic's daughter, suspected of helping the top U.N. war crimes fugitive elude justice.

There were no signs the operation was an attempt to arrest Karadzic, who reportedly has been hiding in remote eastern Bosnia.

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