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A BROKEN AXLE sent a packed commuter bus skidding off a busy highway in northern Pakistan, killing 16 passengers and injuring more than a dozen others, state-run media reported Saturday. . . . CHINESE POLICE on Saturday released veteran dissident Wang Xizhe, who had been detained in a security sweep before the anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. . . . TWO CAR BOMBS have exploded in Syria, including one that left a crater several yards deep in the capital Damascus, a leading Arabic newspaper reported Saturday. . . . HEALTH OFFICIALS say a bacterial infection has killed three elderly residents at a nursing home in Potomac, Md., a Washington suburb, and is suspected of claiming four other lives in the past nine days.