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World datelines


KANDAHAR — U.S. helicopters bombed a tent in southern Afghanistan, killing two Taliban militants including a top commander as well as 10 nomadic tribesmen, a deputy governor in Zabul province said Saturday.

SALANG PASS — Afghan and Western officials took a bone-shaking ride into the Hindu Kush mountains Saturday to launch the reconstruction of a key highway that they hope will boost Afghanistan's shattered economy. Emergency repairs will begin shortly on a 110-mile stretch of road from the capital, Kabul, reopening the way to the country's north — and to historic trade routes to Central Asia.


SAO PAULO — Brazil's president will decide within days whether to legalize genetically modified soybeans planted in a key southern agricultural state where 70 percent of the crop is now cultivated illegally.


SRINAGAR — The army said it killed six suspected separatist guerrillas from a Pakistan-based group after a fierce battle Saturday in Indian-controlled Kashmir. At least two guerrillas escaped, Col. Tinaiken, an army spokesman, told The Associated Press. After the battle, the army recovered documents linking the guerrillas to Jaish-e-Mohammad, a militant group based in Pakistan, Tinaiken said.


JAKARTA — A victim in last month's bombing of Jakarta's J.W. Marriott hotel married his fiancee on Saturday in a hospital where he is being treated for burns from the attack. Febby Firmansyah, a 26-year-old marketing officer, married Delli Ratna Sari in the burns unit of Jakarta's Pertamina Hospital.


BAGHDAD — A U.S. soldier shot and killed a tiger at the Baghdad zoo after it bit another soldier who had reached through the bars of its cage to feed it, a zoo security guard said Saturday. The soldiers had been drinking beer when they entered the zoo Thursday night after it closed, said the guard, Zuhair Abdul-Majeed. "He was drunk," Abdul-Majeed said of the bitten soldier.


TOKYO — Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi tightened his grip on Japan's ruling party Saturday, promising to recharge the stalled economy while emerging as a long-lived survivor in the political landscape. The stylish leader, with his wavy, silver mop top, easily won re-election as president of the staid Liberal Democratic Party and said his reform pledges would propel the party to victory in parliamentary elections.

TOKYO — A strong earthquake rocked the Tokyo area Saturday afternoon, injuring at least seven people and causing minor damage to some buildings. The quake, which had a preliminary magnitude of 5.5 and was centered just east of Tokyo, was strong enough to sway buildings in the capital.

New Zealand

WELLINGTON — Millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett called it a season Sunday, ending a second year of unsuccessfully trying to break the world's glider altitude record.


MALIKWAL — A passenger train plowed into a packed bus as it crossed over railway tracks in central Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least 27 passengers and injuring six others, officials said. The crash outraged residents, who accused the government of ignoring their pleas to improve safety at the crossing despite two earlier accidents there.

South Korea

SEOUL — Hundreds of farmers threw stones at riot police Saturday during a funeral procession for a farmer who committed suicide in an anti-globalization protest during World Trade Organization talks in Mexico. Dozens of farmers and police officers were injured, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said.


STOCKHOLM — With a murder suspect detained for at least another week, police on Saturday stressed they weren't sure he was the killer of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, and appealed for more tips in the investigation. A private funeral was held in Stockholm on Saturday for Lindh, fatally stabbed Sept. 10 while shopping without bodyguards at a crowded department store.


HARARE — Vice President Simon Muzenda, a longtime loyal aide of Zimbabwe's autocratic leader, died Saturday, state radio reported. He was 81. The report said Muzenda died at the main Parirenyatwa hospital in Harare. It gave no cause of death.