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World datelines

Afghanistan

KABUL — Assailants fired rockets at two bases housing international peacekeepers in the Afghan capital, slightly injuring a Canadian worker, officials from the multinational force said Friday.

Albania

TIRANA — Albania declared 2004 to be "Mother Teresa Year" and set aside Oct. 19 as a national holiday in her honor, authorities said Friday.

Britain

LONDON — Army bomb experts blew up a suspicious vehicle found abandoned near Gatwick Airport early today after evacuating part of a terminal and halting road and rail traffic in the area, officials said.

China

LUQUAN — Experts wearing head-to-toe chemical suits on Friday dismantled a stockpile of Japanese poison gas shells found in northern China, left over from Japan's World War II occupation.

France

PARIS — France's health minister announced $748 million in extra funding Friday for emergency services overwhelmed by this summer's deadly heat wave. The searing heat wave that hit much of Europe in the first half of August killed more than 11,400 people in France, and experts say faults in emergency services contributed to the death toll.

Germany

BERLIN — An 88-year-old former member of the Nazi SS will go on trial next week for the 1944 killing of a Dutch resistance fighter, a court in northern Germany announced Friday. The trial of Dutch-born Hubertus Bikker will open Wednesday at the state court in Hagen, the court said.

India

BOMBAY — Police shot and killed a man believed to have masterminded car bombings in Bombay last month that killed 53 people, an official said Friday. Police Commissioner Ranjit Sharma said the suspect, identified as Naseer, and another man were killed in a Friday gunfight with police officers in central Bombay.

Lebanon

EIN EL-HILWEH — Attackers hurled a hand grenade and fired rifles at pro-Yasser Arafat demonstrators in this Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, injuring 17 people, a Palestinian official said Friday.

North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea again rejected a U.S. demand to end its nuclear weapons program, saying Friday it has no intention of disarming itself in the face of perceived American aggression. The commentary by North Korea's official newspaper Rodong Sinmun comes a day after U.S. officials said in Washington that the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel rods at a key North Korean facility apparently has ceased, although the reason was unclear.

Portugal

LISBON — Rescue crews searched the coast of Portugal's Madeira Islands for bodies Friday after a Beechcraft airplane crashed into the sea, apparently killing all nine people on board, officials said.

Rwanda

KIGALI — Raising his right hand and touching Rwanda's flag with his left, Paul Kagame took the oath of office Friday as the nation's first popularly elected president since the 1994 genocide.

Slovakia

BANSKA BYSTRICA — He was clearly suffering — unable to walk and speaking with difficulty — but Pope John Paul II rallied enough to greet thousands of faithful Friday and pay tribute to victims of the "dark days" of communism. Battling his ailments, the pope pushed ahead with his Slovak pilgrimage, looking more alert than on his arrival 24 hours earlier.

South Korea

SEOUL — A powerful typhoon pounded southern South Korea Friday, killing at least 15 people and forcing thousands to flee into emergency shelters, the national news agency Yonhap said.

Venezuela

CARACAS — Election officials rejected a petition Friday signed by millions of Venezuelans calling for a referendum on Hugo Chavez's presidency, a major setback in opposition efforts to oust the leftist leader.

Zimbabwe

HARARE — Police blockaded the offices of Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper Friday after it refused to register with the government to protest sweeping media laws.