World briefs 5/10/04

Monday, May 10, 2004

U.S. detains 35 Taliban suspects in Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- U.S. forces swept through an insurgency-hit province in southeastern Afghanistan, detaining 35 Taliban suspects, a senior Afghan official said Sunday. Hundreds of American soldiers began combing three districts of Zabul province, about 240 miles southeast of the capital, Kabul, on Friday, Gov. Khial Mohammed told The Associated Press. American troops also found weapons during the raids, which continued Sunday, Mohammed said.

Sharon plans withdrawal; cancels Washington trip

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday canceled a planned trip to the United States next week, saying he intended to focus his energies on patching together a new blueprint for withdrawing from the Gaza Strip after his party rejected his original plan. Sharon told his Cabinet ministers during a stormy meeting that he will present them with a revised version of his "disengagement plan" in the next three weeks. He did not reveal what changes he is contemplating or how he would satisfy his deeply divided coalition.

U.N. vehicle destroyed by explosion in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A blast hit a U.N. vehicle carrying election workers in eastern Afghan-istan and two foreign men were beaten to death in the capital, officials said Sunday, adding to security fears ahead of the landmark vote in September. Four election staff escaped unhurt from Saturday's jeep explosion near Grabawa, a village in Nangarhar province about 60 miles south of Kabul. Their driver was treated for minor injuries. All were Afghans.

Hard-line governing body bans torture in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's hard-line ruling Guardian Council has passed a law banning the use of torture, effective immediately, a judiciary official said Sunday. The council, which rejected at least three similar proposals in the past, approved the laws Thursday -- one day after Iran's judiciary chief ordered it, said Nasser Hosseini, a judiciary official. Human rights groups have long complained about the use of torture against detainees, including intellectuals and political activists.

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