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World datelines

China

BEIJING — The government hailed as "positive and constructive" last week's visit to the United States by Vice Premier Qian Qichen. "The visit helped enhance mutual understanding, dialogue and cooperation between the two sides," Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi told a news conference.

Colombia

BOGOTA — Guerrillas killed a regional paramilitary commander and three other people in a bar shootout near the town of Tulua, police said.

India

AHMADABAD — Former President Clinton will spend two days in India's western Gujarat state next week to assess earthquake damage, the U.S. consulate in Bombay said.

Italy

ROME — Roman Catholic Church leaders in Italy have vowed to stay out of the political debate ahead of the May 13 general election but are still urging the faithful only to vote for parties supporting church teachings.

Kenya

MACHAKOS — The toll in a fire at the Kyanguli Secondary School rose to 59 with the death of a hospitalized student Tuesday. Fifty-eight fellow students, between the ages of 15 and 19, died in the fire early Monday.

Laos

VIENTIANE — Finance Minister Bounnyang Vorachit was named prime minister as part of a Cabinet shuffle endorsed by parliament. President Khamtay Siphandone, 77, chief of the ruling Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the most powerful official in government, retained his position as head of state.

Nepal

KATMANDU — A bus skidded off a mountainous highway in western Nepal, killing 14 passengers and injuring 18, police said.

Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — The government accused arch-rival India of stepping up "repression" in disputed Kashmir and ignoring proposals to resume deadlocked peace talks.

Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY — The U.S. Army is trying to recover the remains of those aboard an American bomber that went down in Papua New Guinea during World War II. Capt. Howard Coe is leading a 12-member recovery team in the rugged Owen Stanley mountains in Milne Bay province, where the wreckage of the bomber was found recently by tribesmen.

Philippines

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Muslim rebels have agreed to resume talks with the government aimed at ending decades of fighting in the southern Philippines.

Russia

MOSCOW — A woman was killed and 26 schoolchildren injured in Siberia when a roof caved in during an amateur concert at a cultural center, officials said. A spokesman said the cause of the collapse had not been determined, but the building was old.

Sierra Leone

FREETOWN — The government said it would restrict the movements of sea traffic following a resurgence in piracy in its waters. Four South Korean or Taiwanese boats have been attacked in the past week. In one recent attack, a Sierra Leonean crew member was shot dead when about 15 heavily armed pirates attacked a South Korean-owned fishing boat.

South Africa

JOHANNESBURG — South African schoolgirls are being raped and sexually assaulted by classmates and teachers at an alarming rate, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a new report.

Vietnam

HANOI — The government labeled an asylum plea by right group Amnesty International on behalf of two dozen Vietnamese refugees as unacceptable interference that would spur illegal departure. The refugees were ethnic minority people who fled to Cambodia to escape a crackdown in Vietnam.

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