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World datelines


BUENOS AIRES — State workers angry at a government austerity plan walked off the job shouting insults, the vanguard of a nationwide effort to disrupt the national economy for a day. Trash piled up uncollected, public buses failed to run and government offices closed.


BRUSSELS — The royal family's pay came under attack following government proposals to allow a minor royal who is only seventh in line to the throne to receive taxpayers' money.


BEIJING — The sister of a veteran labor activist has been sentenced to three years in a labor camp for helping him stage a hunger strike, a human rights group said. Li Wangling was charged with subversion and sentenced this month in Shaoyang, said the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

BEIJING — Jia Lanpo, an archaeologist who helped to unearth the Peking Man fossils, one of the most important discoveries in the search for human origins, has died at 92.


HAVANA — Four Cuban teenagers were killed this week when lightning struck a reservoir they were swimming in, while a fifth boy escaped serious injury, state-run media said.


NEW DELHI — The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff was given a gun and a plaque during a short visit here aimed at strengthening U.S.-India military ties. Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton is the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to visit since India's nuclear weapons tests in 1998, which prompted the Clinton administration to scale back military contacts, among other sanctions.


TOKYO — Peru's ambassador to Japan, citing an official protest against Tokyo's decision to grant citizenship to ex-president Alberto Fujimori's brother-in-law, said Japan's move violated its own laws and could harm ties. The protest, which Prime Minister Javier Perez de Cuellar had conveyed personally to Japan's ambassador in Lima a day earlier, comes when relations are already deteriorating due to Tokyo's refusal to extradite Fujimori.


SKOPJE — NATO's secretary general and the European Union foreign policy chief postponed a trip to Skopje after Macedonian officials rejected a peace proposal, raising fears that talks aimed at defusing an Albanian insurgency could collapse. Meanwhile, a woman was injured after two separate blasts rocked Skopje suburbs overnight.


YANGON — In a possible snub to Myanmar's military rulers, democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi did not appear at an annual ceremony to honor her slain father, independence hero Gen. Aung San.


LAGOS — Female members of the ruling People's Democratic Party have threatened to parade naked through Lagos to protest what they see as a lack of respect within the party, newspapers reported.

South Korea

SEOUL — Villagers living close to a U.S. bombing range vowed to step up protests against their government's decision to continue allowing American warplanes to use the facility. Thousands of residents of Maehyang-ri, a village on South Korea's central west coast, are angry over the exclusion of the range from plans by the U.S. military to close and consolidate its bases in South Korea beginning next year.

Sri Lanka

COLOMBO — Police fired teargas and rubber bullets during street battles with protesters pouring into the capital for a banned demonstration against the suspension of parliament. The government called out the army to help.

At least one protester bled to death from what appeared to be a rubber bullet wound, and 27 suffered injuries from police truncheons and rubber bullets, said doctors at the city's two largest hospitals.


DAMASCUS — A former U.S. senator and water expert has warned that the Middle East could face a grave water shortage in the next few years and urged leaders of the region to engage in joint efforts to solve the problem. Paul Simon, author of a book entitled "Protecting the World's Water Supplies," urged leaders of Syria, Israel and other countries to meet regardless of whether peace is achieved to discuss how best they can share the region's scarce water resources.


ISTANBUL — The health minister says high school girls training to be nurses must be virgins and the virginity tests he is authorizing will protect the nation's youth from prostitution and underage sex.


LUSAKA — A truck collided with a passenger bus, pushing both vehicles into a river and killing 27 people, police said.