World briefs 11/29/02

Friday, November 29, 2002

Iraqi agency: U.S.-British warplanes kill civilian

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- U.S. and British warplanes attacked a "civilian and services" installation in northern Iraq on Thursday, killing one civilian, the official Iraqi News Agency said.

The attack in Nineveh province, 250 miles north of Baghdad, occurred at 11:05 a.m. local time, an unnamed military spokesman told the agency.

Iraqi air defense units fired at the attacking planes, forcing them to return to their bases in Turkey, the agency said.

American and British warplanes taking off from bases in Kuwait conducted 55 sorties over southern Iraq, it said.

No comment was immediately available from the U.S. military.

The no-fly zones were set up in the past decade to protect Kurds in the north and Shiites Muslims in the south from Iraqi government forces.

Iraq does not recognize the zones and routinely challenges the American and British aircraft patrolling them.

Indian troops uncover bomb-assembling unit

SRINAGAR, India -- Police in India-controlled Kashmir raided a girls high school Thursday and found a bomb-making laboratory, seizing explosives they said militants planned to use in the Himalayan region.

Hours after the raid, suspected Islamic militants hurled a grenade at the local headquarters of state-run All India Radio in Srinagar, police said.

No casualties were reported.

Acting on a tip, police raided the Muslim Girls Public School in Srinagar before it opened Thursday, and found at least four large bombs and sacks full of land mines and other explosive devices in an unused part of the school.

There was nobody in the bomb lab at the time, and nobody was immediately arrested, although school officials were being questioned, police said.

War fears increase in Ivory Coast

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast -- Ivory Coast slid toward all-out war Thursday as government troops attacked rebels behind a two-month uprising and a new group of insurgents seized a western town.

As fighting erupted in the center and west of the former French colony, West African mediators struggled to keep peace talks on track in nearby Togo.

Rebel negotiators in Togo's capital, Lome, said they would stay at the talks despite the renewed fighting.

"The attacks launched by ... loyalist forces are meant to create a diversion from the talks in Lome. We will not fall for the ruse," rebel chief negotiator Guillaume Soro told reporters.

He said rebels had submitted their response to a draft accord, but he declined to provide details. Government negotiators did not immediately comment.

Commission proposes expanded health care

TORONTO -- A government-appointed commission has proposed the most sweeping upgrade of Canada's national health care system since its inception, including billions of dollars more to ensure equal access to free medical care.

The report was issued Thursday by former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow.

The report follows an 18-month, $10 million investigation that included public hearings across the country and studies on all aspects of the medicare system.

Romanow said the 30-year-old medicare system faced hard choices on whether to allow more private care that patients would pay for or to expand and strengthen the government-funded program.

He said bolstering medicare was the better choice because Canadians want a universal system instead of one that offers private services for the wealthy and public health care for the rest.

The report proposes increasing federal health care spending $2.3 billion next year, followed by successive annual increases of $3.2 billion and $4.2 billion.

-- From wire reports

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