Nation/world digest 06/28/04

Monday, June 28, 2004

Suspected Taliban kill 16 for registering to vote

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Taliban fighters killed up to 16 men after learning they had registered for Afghanistan's U.S.-backed national elections, the deadliest attack yet in a campaign aimed at sabotaging the nation's first free vote, officials said Sunday. The assault raised security fears and added to doubts over whether Afghanistan is ready to hold elections as planned in September -- and increased pressure on NATO leaders meeting Monday in Turkey to deploy more peacekeepers here. The killings took place Friday, and various reports put the number of dead at 10 or 16.

New York phasing in law for 'fire-safe' cigarettes

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Today, New York will become the first state to phase in a law requiring tobacco companies to sell the new "fire-safe" cigarettes, cigarettes that will self-extinguish if they're not puffed on regularly. The law is meant to cut down on the number of smoking-related fires. About 900 Americans die each year and another 2,500 are hurt by fires started by cigarettes left unattended. But manufacturers warn that though the new cigarettes go out on their own, they're not fire-proof and careless handling could still lead to fires.

Canadian leader makes coast-to-coast trek

OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Paul Martin, on the final day of campaigning, embarked on a grueling coast-to-coast trek Sunday in a bid to stave off defeat for his vulnerable Liberal Party in what could be one of Canada's closest elections. Martin, in his first election after succeeding Jean Chretien last year, has conceded that the Liberals are likely to lose their majority in Parliament. He hopes at least to win more seats than the resurgent Conservative Party in today's national election, and thus extend the Liberals' 11-year hold on power as head of a minority government.

Iran will resume building uranium centrifuges

TEHRAN, Iran -- Within days, Iran said Sunday, it will resume building centrifuges for its nuclear program in a forceful rejection of severe international castigation. But Tehran said it welcomed international supervision of the building program and said it would not use the devices to enrich uranium -- for the time being. The process can make uranium into fuel for peaceful or military nuclear purposes. The White House called Iran's decision further proof it was trying to build an atomic bomb.

Mountain lion attacks woman in California

LOS ANGELES -- A woman was attacked by a mountain lion while hiking in central California, but was rescued when her friends stabbed the animal with a knife and threw rocks at it, officials said. Shannon Parker, 27, lost her right eye, was injured in her other eye and suffered deep lacerations to her right thigh during the attack Saturday. The lion left a bloody trail as it fled, and was later shot and killed by U.S. Forest Service officers and state game wardens.

-- From wire reports

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