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World datelines


CAIRO — A strong earthquake centered in the Mediterranean Sea shook parts of the Mideast and Greece. No casualties or damage were immediately reported.


TALLINN — Siim Kallas, father of Estonia's kroon currency, won the backing of parliament to become prime minister on Tuesday, promising to bridge an ever widening gap between the Baltic state's haves and have-nots.


GUWAHATI — Heavily armed tribal guerrillas shot dead 16 villagers, including nine women and two children, in India's northeastern state of Assam, police said.


JAKARTA — Indonesian police have summoned for questioning militant Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, whom Singapore and Malaysia suspect has links with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network and with terrorist groups in the region.

Ivory Coast

YAMOUSSOUKRO — Ivory Coast's four main political rivals met for the first time since a 1999 military coup shattered the West African country's image of stability in a region scarred by war.


TOKYO — A Japanese court sentenced a man to 14 years in prison for abducting a 9-year-old girl in 1990 and hiding her in his room for nearly a decade.


AMMAN — Jordanian riot police in the southern city of Maan clashed early on Tuesday with around 100 protesters alleging police had tortured a youth who later died in hospital, witnesses said.


BEIRUT — The owner of a Lebanese-flagged cargo ship said he has reached a deal with pirates to free the crew being held hostage off the coast of Somalia, and a French navy ship was on its way to monitor a possible handover.


SKOPJE — Macedonia's main political parties have agreed on a key devolution bill, seen as a precondition for a donors' conference needed to sustain fragile ethnic peace, an EU official said.


LAGOS — British Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to visit Nigeria next month for talks with President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is mediating in the Zimbabwe crisis, Nigerian officials said on Tuesday.


MANILA — Two children were killed and 40 people were wounded when an attacker, shouting he was a communist guerrilla, threw a hand grenade into a crowded street in a Manila suburb, police said.

MANILA — A man hacked to death seven sleeping people, including his wife and two children, inside their house in the southern Philippines, and fled to a nearby forest, police said.


MOSCOW — The commander of Russia's air force, whose long career was marked by two incidents involving passenger jetliners shot out of the sky, retired and was replaced by his deputy.

MOSCOW — Gunmen shot dead a senior official in the southern Russian province of Dagestan, the latest in a long series of violent incidents in the region bordering separatist Chechnya.


Singapore police arrested 177 people and seized more than a fifth of a pound of heroin in a 20-hour drug sweep which ended on Tuesday, Channel News Asia reported.

South Africa

JOHANNESBURG — The government of South Africa's most AIDS-ravaged province said it would supply a key drug to HIV-positive pregnant women in a bid to save their babies from the deadly disease.

Sri Lanka

COLOMBO — Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for a separate state in Sri Lanka released 10 prisoners of war in a goodwill gesture between the two sides in the buildup to possible peace talks.


GENEVA — One of the 53 siblings of the man the United States accuses of masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks, said he had registered "Binladin" as a trademark, but would not use it commercially at present.


HANOI — Authorities in the Vietnamese seaside resort town of Nha Trang have launched an investigation after discovering T-shirts with the face of Osama bin Laden for sale.


BELGRADE — Serbian police said they had arrested wartime Bosnian government minister Alija Delimustafic and talks were under way on his possible extradition to Sarajevo to face charges of financial crime.