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World datelines


SYDNEY — Groups of asylum seekers being held in Australian detention centers agreed Monday to remove stitches from their lips and to abandon a five-day hunger strike. Also, four children pulled out of what their lawyer said was a suicide pact between mostly Afghan children without parents or guardians at the remote Woomera detention center in the Australian outback .


DHAKA — An angry mob beat three alleged muggers to death on Monday and then set the bodies aflame in Dhaka's busy Motijheel commercial district, police said.


BEIJING — A pair of explosions in a northern China coal mine killed 27 miners, including members of a recovery team sent in to pull out bodies, a coal industry safety official said Monday.


PORT-AU-PRINCE — Police fired bullets and tear gas Sunday at hundreds of poor Haitians who ransacked warehouses and demanded rice under a program that critics say is illegally subsidized and benefits some ruling party officials financially and politically.


PATNA — A land mine blast blew up a police patrol, killing nine policemen and two villagers walking nearby, police said Monday, adding they suspected Maoist guerrillas had planted it.

NEW DELHI — India said on Monday that police killed two Pakistani men it accused of an attack outside a U.S. cultural center in Calcutta as military tensions remained high between the two nuclear-capable foes.


TEHRAN — Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri on Monday confirmed reports that Iran would resume direct flights to Baghdad after a break of more than 20 years, the official IRNA news agency said.


TOKYO — Japan agreed Monday to compensate a group of leprosy patients not covered under a previous government settlement as Tokyo widened the efforts to redress thousands discriminated against under a post-World War II law.


ASTANA — Kazakhstan's prime minister abruptly quit on Monday, bringing the entire cabinet down with him, and parliament immediately approved a replacement named by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.


KUALA LUMPUR — A landslide caused by heavy rain buried a communal longhouse in eastern Malaysia early Monday, and at least 10 people were feared killed, police said.


ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's military government said on Monday it was releasing the leader of the country's main Islamic party on medical grounds after detaining him for nearly three months following anti-government protests.


ZAMBOANGA — With American troops preparing for counterterrorism exercises, the sister of an American hostage asked rebels Monday to release the Kansas couple they have held for eight months.


VLADIVOSTOK — Top military commanders rushed to Russia's far east on Monday after the local power company briefly pulled the plug on a crucial space communications base for failing to pay its electricity bill.


STOCKHOLM — Popular Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, creator of the freckle-faced, free-spirited Pippi Longstocking, died on Monday at the age of 94, Swedish TT news agency reported.


TAIPEI — The head of U.S. relations with Taiwan on Monday assured the jittery island President George W. Bush's visit to China next month would not hurt Taiwan's interests.

United Arab Emirates

ABU DHABI — The United Arab Emirates said on Monday it would re-open its embassy in Afghanistan, four months after it cut relations with the former ruling Taliban.


VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II urged magistrates and lawyers Monday to avoid working on divorce cases, saying the dissolution of marriage had consequences that spread "like the plague."


HARARE — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has invited foreign observers to monitor presidential elections but will not admit observers from Britain, which he accuses of backing the opposition, state radio said on Monday. Britain said Monday that Mugabe should be hit with tough sanctions if he refuses to admit election observers or to halt a crackdown on free speech.