World briefs 5/29/04

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Earthquake hits Iran; at least 23 dead

TEHRAN, Iran -- A strong earthquake shook central and northern Iran on Friday, killing at least 23 people -- some buried by landslides on a mountain road -- and seriously damaging more than 80 villages, the Interior Ministry and state-run media said. More than 100 others were reported injured by the 6.2 magnitude earthquake, which struck at 5:08 p.m. and was centered about 45 miles north of Tehran, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The quake unleashed landslides and falling boulders that killed 16 people and injured 70 others by burying them in their cars along the mountainous Tehran-Chalous road, state-run television reported. Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. A December earthquake in Bam, in southeastern Iran, measured 6.6 magnitude and killed 26,000 people.

Several countries aided Libya's nuclear program

VIENNA, Austria -- Libya's nuclear suppliers stretched over three continents and included states as well as individuals who provided equipment and expertise to the North African nation, the U.N. atomic agency said Friday. An internal report by the International Atomic Energy Agency did not name the countries involved. But diplomats familiar with research that supported the document said the former Soviet Union, South Africa, Pakistan, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates apparently were either providing support or serving as a base for individuals selling nuclear components or know-how to Libya.

617 prisoners released from Abu Ghraib prison

ABU GHRAIB, Iraq -- Shots rang out Friday as U.S. soldiers escorted 617 prisoners away from Abu Ghraib prison, prompting a return volley toward nearby apartment buildings. More than a dozen buses carrying prisoners had just left Abu Ghraib -- the center of a scandal involving abuse of detainees by American soldiers -- when the first shots were fired. Initial reports said unidentified attackers targeted the convoy, but Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said later that the first shots were simply Iraqis celebrating the release. There were no reports of injuries. Friday's release was the third major release from the facility since the scandal broke over the abuse of detainees in late April.

-- From wire reports

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