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World datelines

Philippines

ZAMBOANGA — The release of a dozen foreign hostages held for up to nearly four months by Moslem rebels in the southern Philippines has been postponed at least until Friday, officials said.

Costa Rica

SAN JOSE — Four men pretending to be religious pilgrims, some with images of Pope John Paul fastened to their clothes, have been arrested in Costa Rica for trying to transport 7.7 pounds of cocaine to Europe, officials said.

Mexico

MEXICO CITY — Rescuers found a 15-year-old Mexican boy missing for over a week on a mountain-climbing trip, but the boy told them the American man who was with him had fallen into a ravine, Mexico's government news agency Notimex reported.

Russia

NAZRAN — Rebels blew up a police car patrolling Chechnya's capital in preparation for parliamentary elections, killing two civilians inside, the military said Thursday. Four Russian police officers were wounded in the attack.

Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE — President Rene Preval made the results of Haiti's parliamentary elections official by publishing them Wednesday, despite criticism from an international community that deems the results questionable.

Japan

TOKYO — Police investigating the deaths of five family members in a house in Osaka, western Japan, were questioning an uncle who calls himself a guru to see if the tragedy was connected with religious rites, local media said.

Cambodia

PHNOM PENH — Seven Eastern European women who said they were brought to Cambodia last month to work as sex slaves for high-level officials have left for home, a human rights official said on Thursday.

PHNOM PENH — A human rights group has accused Cambodia's military of killing at least six anti-government royalists and being involved in the disappearance of 25 more.

Spain

MADRID — A toothless chimpanzee at the Madrid zoo has given her companions a taste for turning fruit and vegetables into purees in what could be a scientific first. New Scientist magazine said the chimps appeared to be the first animals to mash food simply because they prefer the taste and texture.

South Korea

SEOUL — South Korea's nationwide doctors strike lost some support on Thursday as physicians in the second largest city voted to go back to work.

Germany

SCHWERIN — Police in the east German port of Rostock broke up a torchlit procession by some 60 neo-Nazis late on Wednesday on the eve of the anniversary of the death of Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess, authorities said.

Afghanistan

KABUL — Afghanistan's national museum reopened on Thursday for the first time in almost a decade, but many of its old treasures are missing, looted during factional battles in Kabul in the 1990s.

Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK — Islamic rebels clashed with Kyrgyz government troops on Thursday and the Central Asian state's Defense Ministry said it had lost six more troops in nearly a week of fighting.

Indonesia

JAKARTA — Indonesia briefly put aside its troubles to celebrate 55 years of independence from Dutch colonial rule, but students chose the anniversary to protest against the military.

Iran

TEHRAN — A hard-line Iranian press court has closed the pro-reform weekly Ava for good and barred its publisher from press activities, the newspaper Iran said.