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World digest 06/09/05

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Afghan rebels kill two Americans, wound more

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Rebel rockets struck U.S. troops unloading supplies from a helicopter in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing two and wounding eight in one of the bloodiest assaults on American forces since insurgent violence picked up in March. The killings came a day after the Afghan government warned that Taliban and al-Qaida fighters are waging a campaign of violence in hopes of undermining legislative elections in September, although the rebels failed to disrupt last fall's presidential vote. A U.S. spokesman said four rockets hit the base. The two deaths brought to 148 the number of U.S. military personnel killed in and around Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom drove the Taliban from power in late 2001, according to Pentagon figures.

Moscow police find skeletons in apartment

MOSCOW -- Police checking on unpaid bills made a gruesome discovery in a Moscow apartment: the skeletal remains of four family members who apparently died at different times over a period of up to five years, prosecutors said Wednesday. The bodies of an elderly couple, their daughter and granddaughter were found by a police officer who forced the apartment's door open because maintenance fees were long overdue, city prosecutor's office spokesman Sergei Marchenko said. Investigators believe the man, who was born in 1912, died about five years ago, followed about two years later by his wife. Their daughter and adult granddaughter apparently died about two years ago, Marchenko said. Aside from the condition of the bodies, other evidence suggesting that the deaths occurred years ago included a 1997 calendar in the grandfather's room, old ruble notes that are out of circulation and food in the refrigerator dated 2003, Marchenko said.

Rare map sells for record $1 million

LONDON -- A nearly 500-year-old map from the first set to identify the New World as "America" and depict the Pacific Ocean was sold Wednesday for a record $1 million, an auction house said. The printed map, one of only four known surviving examples produced by a group working under German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller, was bought by Charles Frodsham and Co. Ltd., a company that makes, collects and deals in items ranging from clocks to maps and books, Christie's auction house said. Christie's said the $1 million price -- $880,000 plus auctioneer's premium -- was the highest amount ever paid for a single-sheet map at an auction. The auction house had said it expected the map to fetch from $900,000 to $1.46 million.

Pakistan police arrest 8 linked to attack on KFC

KARACHI, Pakistan -- Police in southern Pakistan have arrested eight Shiite Muslims for attacking a KFC restaurant last month in which six employees were killed, a police official said on Wednesday. The bodies were found May 31, a day after Shiites angered over a suicide attack at their mosque in Karachi set fire to the restaurant and damaged cars, shops and three gas stations. Najeeb Khan, the police official, said a judge has allowed police to hold the men for one week while the investigation continues. He gave no other details.

Blood clot may have killed Jesus, doctor says

JERUSALEM -- Jesus may have died from a blood clot that reached his lungs, an Israeli physician said Wednesday, challenging the popular conception that he died of asphyxiation and blood loss during his crucifixion. Dr. Benjamin Brenner, a researcher at the Rambam Medical Center in the Israeli port city of Haifa, said he was publicizing his theory to raise awareness of pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal disorder often associated with long-distance air travel. However, the author of an earlier in-depth medical report into the cause of Jesus' death dismissed the theory, and Bible scholars said that while establishing the physical cause of Jesus' death was interesting, it ignored the spiritual dimension.

Previously unknown Bach aria discovered

BERLIN -- A previously unknown work by Johann Sebastian Bach has been discovered in a crate of 18th-century birthday cards removed from a German library shortly before it was devastated by fire, researchers said Wednesday. Experts say the aria for soprano and string or keyboard accompaniment composed for a German duke's birthday is the first new music from the renowned composer to surface in three decades. Researcher Michael Maul of the Bach Archiv foundation found the composition, dated October 1713, last month in the eastern city of Weimar. The Leipzig-based foundation said there was no doubt about the authenticity of the handwritten, two-page score.

-- From wire reports


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