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World briefs 3/21/05

Monday, March 21, 2005

Two U.N. peacekeepers killed in Port-Au-Prince

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- U.N. troops and ex-soldiers from Haiti's disbanded army fought two gunbattles on Sunday, leaving two peacekeepers and at least two former soldiers dead in the deadliest day for the 10-month-old U.N. mission, officials said. The Sri Lankan and Nepalese soldiers who died were the first peacekeepers killed in clashes since the U.N. force arrived in June to try and stabilize the impoverished, volatile nation.

Qatar blames Egyptian man for suicide attack

DOHA, Qatar -- Qatari authorities on Sunday blamed an Egyptian national for the suicide car bombing of a theater that killed one Briton and injured 12 other people in a rare attack in the tiny Gulf state. The car bombing came days after a man purporting to be al-Qaida's leader in the Gulf called for attacks on Western interests. It also occurred on the second anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, but it was not clear if the two events were linked.

Israel, Palestinians stuck on West Bank handover

TULKAREM, West Bank -- Israeli and Palestinian commanders met Sunday to work out the last details of a handover of the West Bank town of Tulkarem to Palestinian control, but the session ended without agreement, a new hitch for fledgling peace efforts. Earlier, Israel's defense minister said the handover would take place today, making it the second of five West Bank towns to be transferred to Palestinian control.

Lebanese president staunch under pressure

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- President Emile Lahoud will not bow to pressure from the anti-Syrian opposition to resign, a senior aide said Sunday as the crisis in Lebanon deepens since the Feb. 14 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Lahoud's media adviser stressed the president can be forced to step down only if he is impeached by Parliament for either violation of the constitution or high treason. Lebanon's president is elected by parliament.

Protesters rampage in Kyrgyzstan city

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of Kyrgyzstan's president over a flawed election rampaged through a southern city on Sunday, burning down a police station and occupying government buildings. The government of the former Soviet republic said it was ready to negotiate, but opposition leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev said talks would only be possible if President Askar Akayev himself is involved.

Pilgrims flee shrine in Pakistan after bombing

FATEHPUR, Pakistan -- Frightened pilgrims crammed into buses leaving a remote village in southwestern Pakistan on Sunday after a bombing at a Shiite shrine left 30 dead, and relatives sifted bloodied caps and shoes for signs of loved ones. The blast Saturday night prompted anger and disbelief among the thousands who gather here 500 miles southwest of the capital, Islamabad, for an annual festival that bridges sectarian and religious divides.


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