World briefs 1/4/05

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Peruvian nationalists seize police station

ANDAHUAYLAS, Peru -- Soldiers moved closer to a police station seized by paramilitary nationalists over the weekend after the Interior Ministry said Monday it was preparing to storm the building. The troops closed in on the station and about 100 rebels holed up inside. The rebel leader, former Maj. Antauro Humala, said he was willing to surrender this morning if the government first agreed to a cease-fire. His group is demanding the resignation of President Alejandro Toledo.

Abbas pledges refugees will return to Israel homes

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Mahmoud Abbas, the leading candidate in next week's presidential election, on Monday promised Palestinian refugees they'll be able to return home one day -- his most explicit comment yet on an explosive issue that has derailed peace talks in the past. Abbas was campaigning for a third straight day in Gaza, appealing to younger, more militant Palestinians.

Spain's premier derides Basque autonomy plan

MADRID, Spain -- Spain's prime minister condemned an initiative by Basque lawmakers to make their region virtually independent, deriding it Monday as secessionist and anomalous in a Europe seeking to become more united. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the initiative is doomed to failure when it reaches Parliament for debate.

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