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World datelines

Argentina

BUENOS AIRES — Argentine Central Bank Chief Pedro Pou's future looked increasingly uncertain Friday as he was criticized for failing to police money laundering by local banks and the government sought to distance itself from him.

Brazil

BRASILIA — Brazil's Itamar Franco, a maverick state governor who helped spark a currency devaluation that shook the government of his longtime foe, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, announced Friday his return to a party in the ruling coalition.

SAO PAULO — Riot troops stormed a southern prison Friday, quelling uprising by more than 800 inmates less than a month after the biggest prison riots in Brazil's history.

Cameroon

YAOUNDE — The United States has criticized human rights abuses in Cameroon, accusing authorities in the Central African state of extrajudicial killings, political disappearances and mistreating prisoners.

Canada

OTTAWA — The Canadian government admitted Friday that it opens and copies private mail from abroad, at least partly to track illegal immigration.

Colombia

BOGOTA — Colombia's largest guerrilla group freed the teenage daughter of one of the country's leading businessman as a "peace gesture" Friday after holding her hostage for three months, authorities said.

East Timor

DILI — A U.N. court has convicted an East Timorese guerrilla of killing a pro-Indonesian militiaman during 1999's post-independence violence and sentenced him to seven years in prison, a decision welcomed by human rights activists.

El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR — Medical staff in El Salvador have treated 821,000 people for a range of physical and emotional conditions after two devastating earthquakes in the early weeks of the year, Health Minister Jose Lopez said.

Finland

HELSINKI — Six rare, centuries-old maps have been stolen from a world-renowned Finnish collection and police said they were hunting a well-spoken British "gentleman" suspected of smuggling them abroad.

Guinea

CONAKRY — A fire at a military arms dump in the Guinean capital Conakry disrupted operations at the main airport and sparked panic among local residents, some of whom fled their homes fearing a rebel attack, witnesses said.

India

JAMMU — Suspected Islamic guerrillas attacked two police vehicles in the northern Indian Jammu-Kashmir state Friday, gunning down 17 policemen and injuring six others, officials said.

Ivory Coast

ABIDJAN — Around 100 demonstrators protested outside the United States embassy in Abidjan Friday against comments made by the U.S. ambassador about Ivory Coast's human rights record.

Lebanon

SIDON — A Palestinian Cabinet minister said Friday that the 5-month-old uprising against Israel was planned after peace talks failed in July, contradicting contentions it was a spontaneous outburst by Palestinians.

Russia

ROSTOV-ON-DON — The trial of a Russian tank commander accused of killing an 18-year-old woman in Chechnya went into recess on Friday after the defendant said he fell ill.

Turkey

ISTANBUL — The government on Friday put a senior World Bank official in charge of healing Turkey's crisis-plagued economy and restoring international confidence after its currency plunged against the dollar.

Zimbabwe

HARARE — The nation's chief justice signed a compromise deal Friday to retire nine months early, ending a standoff with the government and threats of violence to remove him.