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U.S., Arab allies rush military aid amid clash

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 26, 2007


LEBANON

The United States and Arab allies rushed military aid to Lebanon on Friday, boosting its strength ahead of a possible army assault to crush al-Qaida-inspired Islamic militants barricaded in a Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli. Defense Minister Elias Murr said he was "leaving room for political negotiations, " which he said must lead to the surrender of the fighters from the Fatah Islam militant group inside the camp.

FRANCE

2 trains advance Europe travel plan

Two high-speed trains zoomed from Germany to France on Friday, a crucial step toward a European rail network to compete with air travel. Although the trains pulled into Paris 35 minutes late, that did not derail the dream of a cleaner, cheaper and more hassle-free alternative to air travel across the increasingly integrated continent.

NEPAL

Woman on Everest saved after illness

A woman who became seriously ill while on Mount Everest and was assisted by fellow climbers has safely reached base camp, Nepalese mountaineering officials said Friday. Uma Bista of Nepal was "barely coherent" and suffering from cerebral edema, or swelling of the brain, when she was found Monday at about 27, 225 feet, below the summit, said veteran climber Dave Hahn of Taos, N.M.

COLOMBIA

In bid to aid talks, rebels to go free

President Alvaro Uribe said Friday that he plans to unilaterally release scores of jailed rebels within weeks, a move to jump-start stalled talks to free 60 hostages, including Americans Keith Stansell, Tom Howes, and Marc Gonsalves, held by leftist guerrillas. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia seized the three U.S. military contractors when their plane crashed during an antinarcotics mission in 2003.

Elsewhere

Nigeria: Gunmen on Friday seized a number of foreign oil workers, including three Americans, four Britons and a South African, in the latest violence to hit Nigeria's southern petroleum-producing region, officials said.

Turkey: President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on Friday vetoed a bill that would allow the Turkish president to be elected in a national ballot, instead of by Parliament, as is currently the case.

Gaza Strip: Israeli missile strikes hit a succession of militant targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday, killing two, while Hamas fired more rockets toward Israel. Palestinian factions met to discuss a possible truce with Israel.

Myanmar: The military government on Friday extended the house arrest of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for another year, defying an outpouring of international appeals for the Nobel Peace Prize winner's freedom.

Afghanistan: A roadside bomb explosion killed a Canadian soldier and wounded another and an Afghan interpreter Friday in Kandahar province, a military spokesman said.

Brazil: A prosecutor on Friday sought formal charges against two U.S. pilots of an executive jet and four Brazilian air traffic controllers involved in the crash of an airliner that left 154 people dead. The executive jet collided with a Boeing 737 over the Amazon rain forest on Sept. 29, authorities say. A judge will decide whether to issue indictments.