World briefs 10A

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Blast rocks Chinese port city of Tianjin

BEIJING -- An explosion flattened homes and damaged university dormitories in the eastern Chinese city of Tianjin, a university official said Saturday. At least two people were killed.

At least 30 others were injured in Friday's blast in a crowded neighborhood, said the official at the nearby Tianjin Commercial College. He gave only his surname, Han.

Police had cordoned off the area and were searching the rubble for more victims, Han said. He said the neighborhood's narrow alleyways prevented fire trucks and ambulances from reaching the site.

The cause of the explosion was still under investigation, according to the Web site of the official People's Daily newspaper. Police refused to comment.

Men held in plot against U.S. warships are Saudis

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- A Saudi diplomat has reportedly confirmed for the first time that three men detained in Morocco for allegedly planning attacks on U.S. and British warships are natives of the kingdom.

Al-Eqtisadiah, a Saudi daily, on Saturday quoted Abdul Aziz al-Khojah as saying a Saudi investigative team has arrived in Morocco to follow ongoing investigations into the three men.

Moroccan officials identified the three men as Saudis earlier this week when they confirmed their arrests. The three, who were taken into custody in May, claimed to be members of the al-Qaida terror network, the Moroccan officials said, speaking on condition they not be identified.

Suspects linked to shoe bomber investigated

PARIS -- Three suspects arrested during a roundup of people with possible links to alleged shoe bomber Richard C. Reid were placed under investigation Saturday by a French anti-terrorism judge, judicial officials said.

The suspects, one from Pakistan and two from France, were under investigation -- one step short of being charged -- for "criminal association with a terrorist enterprise," the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere has been looking into Reid's stay in Paris, searching for contacts he made there before he boarded a Paris-Miami flight in December with explosives stuffed in his shoes.

Blair agrees to crisis talks for peace process

LONDON -- Prime Minister Tony Blair has agreed to hold crisis talks on the Northern Ireland peace process to head off building sectarian tensions and fears of new Irish Republican Army activity, officials said Saturday.

The government said Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, who is also the province's first minister, lobbied Blair on Friday for an emergency meeting between the British and Irish governments and Northern Ireland parties that support the 1998 Good Friday peace accord.

Although no date has been set, it is expected the meeting will take place within days.

-- From wire reports

Trimble faces a crucial meeting of his party's 110-member executive in Belfast Saturday, with hard-liners calling for the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party to be excluded from the power sharing government -- a move that could undermine the fragile peace process.

After reports that the IRA was testing new rockets and other weapons in Colombia, where three suspected IRA members were arrested on Aug. 11, Ulster Unionist lawmakers Jeffrey Donaldson and David Burnside urged Trimble to get tough on Sinn Fein.

"Our credibility as a party is on the line as well as the credibility of this peace process," said Donaldson. "Somebody has to face up to the charge that the IRA has not bought into a peace process."

Five killed in apparent murder-suicide involving American

GRIMSBY, Ontario -- An American man and four members of a Canadian family were killed in an apparent murder-suicide, police said Saturday.

The five died Friday night of gunshot wounds in Grimsby, a southern Ontario town about 18 miles west of Toronto, according to Niagara Regional Police.

Police identified the dead as Donald Cruse, 57, his wife Mary, 53, daughter Shannon, 23, and her 6-year-old daughter Shaniya, along with 30-year-old Peter Kiss of Milwaukee, Wis.

According to police, Kiss shot Shannon Cruse -- his former girlfriend -- with a semiautomatic weapon in the driveway of a friend's house, then went down the street to her parents' home where he killed the other three and then himself.

Police say the couple, who met at a trucking convention, lived together for about two months in Milwaukee before Shannon Cruse ended the relationship in April and moved back to her parents' house in Grimsby.

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