KANDAHAR — Gunmen attacked the office of the U.N. refugee agency Monday, throwing a grenade and firing shots but causing no injuries, on a violent day that also saw U.S. forces engage in a firefight and bombard a secret drugs laboratory.


BRUSSELS — Two more letter bombs addressed to senior members of the European Parliament burst into flames and another was intercepted Monday — the seventh since Dec. 27 — leading to a review of security at the European Union. The latest bombings scorched furniture, leaving the letter-openers frightened but unharmed. Investigators suspect an Italian anarchist group — the "Informal Anarchic Federation" — as the likely source for the string of bombs, which have caused no injuries.


MONTREAL — Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has joined the law firm where Pierre Trudeau practiced after he left the country's top political office. Chretien, who stepped down last month after 10 years as prime minister, showed up right on time Monday at Heenan Blaikie, said Roy Heenan, head of the firm.


BEIJING — China announced plans Tuesday to use $45 billion from its foreign reserves to turn two of its biggest state-owned commercial banks into joint-stock corporations. The announcement in state media came amid efforts to modernize China's state banks in preparation for allowing foreign competitors into the industry. Chinese banks are trying to clear away mountains of unpaid debts accumulated by state industries.

Dominican Republic

SANTO DOMINGO — Two Canadian men were detained for suspected links to terrorism after acting strangely aboard a flight from France to the Dominican Republic, authorities said Monday. The two were detained after Air Europa Flight 89 landed in Santo Domingo Sunday night, said Gen. Fernando Cruz Mendez, director of national Investigations. They have not been charged and authorities did not find any weapons, Cruz said.


SHARM EL-SHEIK — Searchers hunting for the wreckage of an airliner zeroed in on a signal late Monday that could be the black box — holding clues to the cause of the Red Sea crash that killed all 148 people aboard, a French embassy official said. The U.S. State Department, meanwhile, said four people with dual U.S.-Egyptian citizenship were among the dead, the first word that Americans were on the Flash Airlines flight, which was bound for Paris via Cairo. Most of the passengers were French tourists.


LENS — A deadly outbreak of Legionnaire's disease has been linked to a petrochemicals subsidiary owned by Exxon Mobil Corp., a French official said Monday. The French government on Sunday shut down the Noroxo plant in the town of Harnes, near the northern city of Lens, after two new cases turned up in the area, the official said. The French subsidiary is a maker of acids and alcohols for use in the construction, automotive and detergent sectors.


TBILISI — Attacking corruption is the key to fixing Georgia's many troubles, and the targets will include the assets of ousted President Eduard Shevardnadze, the country's new leader said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press. Mikhail Saakashvili, leader of the wave of November protests that drove out Shevardnadze, won an apparent landslide victory in presidential elections Sunday, six weeks after Shevardnadze stepped down.

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RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian aid groups have refused to accept money from the U.S. government because of a requirement they sign a pledge the money would not be used for terrorism, organizers said Monday. The U.S. Agency for International Development has given Palestinian groups $1.3 billion in the past decade and is a key source of funding for the cash-strapped organizations. But USAID enacted the anti-terrorism pledge requirement at the end of 2002 for new grants given worldwide.


MADRID — Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards crowded the streets of Madrid Monday in a flurry of confetti and soap bubbles to greet the three wise men in one of dozens of Epiphany feast parades held across Spain.

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