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World datelines


KABUL — More than 1,000 people watched as two women convicted of prostitution were hanged in southern Kandahar, the headquarters of Afghanistan's hard-line Islamic Taliban rulers.


BUENOS AIRES — Argentina said it had reached a deal with Britain to officially allow planes and boats of Argentine origin to travel to the Falkland Islands for the first time since the two countries' 1982 war over the islands' sovereignty.


LONDON — Masked men wielding baseball bats attacked an executive at a research company targeted in recent months by animal rights activists, police said.


MONTREAL — Quebec's Deputy Premier Bernard Landry filed his official nomination papers Friday to run for the leadership of the ruling Parti Quebecois and become premier of the province, vowing he would lead Quebec to independence from Canada.


BOGOTA — Colombia's President Andres Pastrana hopes that U.S. gratitude for his Plan Colombia offensive against drugs will translate into help for his weak economy when he meets President Bush next week.


QUITO — Ecuador's only crude pipeline stopped pumping late Thursday as protesters in the Amazon region occupied oil platforms, reducing crude production, an official at the pipeline management company said.

El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR — An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the open-ended Richter scale hit El Salvador, causing widespread alarm but no reported injuries.


PARIS — A French court refused to throw out arms trafficking charges filed against the son of former President Franois Mitterand, the most serious of the charges he faces.


BERLIN — Russian President Vladimir Putin's wife once called him a "vampire," and the former KGB agent believes there is no place in Russia where one can talk without being overheard, according to a book published this week by a self-described former confidante of Russia's first lady.


ATHENS — Palestinian President Yasser Arafat called for a more active European Union role in the Middle East peace process and said he still believed that a "fair peace" could be achieved.


GUATEMALA CITY — Fugitive Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, who has been on the run since slipping out of a high security prison in western Mexico in January, is being sought by police in Guatemala, the government said.


SIAULIAI — Rabies-infected mice have been missing from a research laboratory for nearly a week, authorities said, warning that the rodents could infect other animals.

Northern Ireland

BELFAST — Northern Ireland's police launched a high-profile recruitment drive, angering Catholics who reject British plans for reforming the overwhelmingly Protestant force.


LIMA — Peruvian police arrested two minority shareholders in a media firm after a state attorney investigating fugitive ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos alleged they took cash in exchange for influence over their television station.


MADRID — Spain mourned the victims of the latest bombing blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA, and judicial sources said the government would ask France to hand over the man believed ultimately responsible.


ST. GALLEN — A man who orchestrated a letter bomb attack that killed his teenage daughter and crippled his ex-wife was sentenced to 18 years in prison.