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World in brief

Turks spied bomb before NATO meet

By wire services
Published July 3, 2004

ISTANBUL - Fourteen pounds of powerful explosives were discovered at Istanbul's airport on June 25, two days before President Bush arrived for a NATO summit and two hours before Turkey's prime minister landed at the heavily guarded facility, police confirmed on Friday.

The bomb was defused after being discovered in a multistory parking garage, packed inside a spare tire beside a parked car and linked to a cell phone for detonation by remote control, according to local security officers and media reports. A U.S. law enforcement official said such a bomb "would have had a devastating effect."

Turkish and U.S. officials had repeatedly denied reports of the discovery, apparently to contain embarrassment at the security breach on the eve of a summit attended by more than 40 prime ministers and presidents.

Also on Friday, a car bomb in a bustling street killed three people and injured 24 others in eastern Turkey, sparking fears of renewed separatist fighting in the country's mainly Kurdish area. And an earthquake in a remote, mountainous part of eastern Turkey collapsed dozens of stone and mud houses, killing 18 people and injuring 27.

Powell tells of talk with N. Korea minister

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who had a rare meeting with his North Korean counterpart on Friday at a conference on Asian-Pacific security, said afterward that the two envoys essentially restated their current positions on talks aimed at disarming Pyongyang rather than engaging in negotiations.

Powell, who met later on Friday with Indonesian students for a discussion at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum, said he had briefed the other parties to the talks - China, Russia, South Korea and Japan - about his 20-minute session with the North Korean foreign minister, Paek Nam-Sun. Powell cautioned against seeking instant solutions and said he looked forward to another round of discussions on North Korea's nuclear program in the early fall.

Experts downplay European terror threat

PARIS - A statement issued in the name of an obscure group claiming ties to al-Qaida warned of terrorist attacks in Europe over the coming months, newspapers reported Friday. They said the attacks would begin after a "truce" offered by Osama bin Laden earlier this year expires in two weeks.

Terrorism experts played down the significance of the warning, which was published by two London-based Arabic newspapers, Asharq Al Awsat and Al Hayat, suggesting that the threat was a hoax. Few governments said they found the threat credible, though they are taking it into account as they tighten security ahead of the summer tourist season.

Sudan leader pledges to protect refugees

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudan's president promised to send troops to stop militia violence that has forced 1-million people from their homes in the state of Darfur, a Sudanese official said Friday after meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The pledge came as the United States raised the possibility of sanctions against Sudan if the government fails to act quickly to end attacks by Arab militias and allow humanitarian aid to reach displaced people.

Annan arrived in the capital, Khartoum, after visiting Sudanese refugees at a camp in Chad on a tour aimed at pressing President Omar el-Bashir's government to end the 16-month conflict.

"My message is simple; violence must stop," Annan told reporters after meeting el-Bashir in Khartoum's heavily guarded military headquarters.

[Last modified July 3, 2004, 01:00:34]

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