World briefs 1/8/04

Thursday, January 8, 2004

Kandahar bomb hidden in apple cart; 15 dead

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- A bomb that tore through a group of curious children in this southern city was hidden in an apple cart, police said Wednesday, as the death toll rose to 15. Meanwhile, a man seized by security forces as he fled the scene of Tuesday's treacherous double blast was refusing to speak to his interrogators. The carnage on a street used regularly by U.S. military patrols was the worst since an explosion on a bus in neighboring Helmand province in July also killed 15 civilians.

India, Pakistan accord on peace talks emerges

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- In the emotional tinderbox of India-Pakistan relations, where a misplaced word can trigger cries of betrayal, a small circle of players kept tight secrecy over peace moves between the nuclear-armed rivals. So secretive was the process leading to the historic breakthrough, announced Tuesday at the close of a seven-nation summit, that it caught even high-level officials by surprise. Many at the summit were so engrossed in a televised Australia-India cricket match that they almost missed Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha's announcement that the two sides would hold peace talks next month on all topics, including Kashmir.

Europe's Mars orbiter fails to contact Beagle 2

LONDON -- Disappointed European scientists insisted they were still in the race to find signs of life on Mars after another attempt to reach their missing Beagle 2 probe Wednesday failed to pick up a signal. As NASA scientists proudly released the first full-color pictures of the Martian surface taken by the Rover, their colleagues at the European Space Agency were scrambling to keep their first mission to Mars alive. The British-built Beagle 2 has not been heard from since the Mars Express mother ship set it loose toward the Red Planet in mid-December, despite several attempts at contact by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter as well as British and U.S. radio telescopes.

-- From wire reports

U.S. military says 35 soldiers wounded in mortar attack

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Anti-American insurgents fired mortar rounds at a U.S. military camp Wednesday night, wounding 35 U.S. soldiers, the U.S. command said. Six mortar rounds exploded about 6:45 p.m. at Logistical Base Seitz west of Baghdad, a U.S. military spokesman said in a statement. The camp is located in the so-called Sunni Muslim triangle that is a stronghold of resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The mortars hit "a living area where they have their sleeping quarters," a spokesman said. A Pentagon spokesman said that some of those wounded returned to duty shortly after the attack, while others were hospitalized.

-- From wire reports

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