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World datelines

Afghanistan

KABUL — Security forces arrested a deputy of a top Taliban commander Thursday for a bomb attack that wounded three U.S. soldiers, and an American soldier died when an Air Force helicopter crashed on a nighttime mission to rescue an election worker.

Austria

VIENNA — Austria's army scrambled two military jets to protect a helicopter carrying Israeli President Moshe Katsav after a private plane briefly appeared to be on a collision course, officials said Thursday.

Belarus

MINSK — Veronika Cherkasova, 44, a journalist working for an opposition newspaper, was stabbed to death in her home in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, her family said Thursday.

Britain

LONDON — Prince Harry, 20, has run into another bout of bad publicity, scuffling early Thursday morning with a paparazzi photographer just a week after fending off charges that a teacher helped him cheat on a school test.

China

BEIJING — Rescue workers in central China searched Thursday for 88 coal miners who were missing after a gas explosion ripped through a shaft, killing at least 60 others — most by suffocating toxic fumes — in the country's deadliest mine disaster this year. The blast occurred Wednesday night in the Daping Mine in Henan province.

France

PARIS — A donor whose blood was used to transfuse 10 people and to manufacture medicines has been identified as France's eighth known victim of the human equivalent of mad cow disease, health officials said Thursday. Authorities are working to identify the 10 blood recipients.

Italy

ROME — Seven Italians are preparing to return to Libya next month, invited by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi 34 years after they were expelled along with thousands of others from the former colony.

Lebanon

BEIRUT — Lebanon's president appointed staunchly pro-Syrian politician Omar Karami as prime minister on Thursday, asking him to form the next government in a move that consolidates Syria's hold on Lebanese politics.

Netherlands

THE HAGUE — Slobodan Milosevic petitioned an appeals court Thursday to let him defend himself again, and his court-appointed lawyer said that representing the uncooperative former Yugoslav president was like "driving ourselves into the sand."

Nigeria

LAGOS — The Nigerian government for the first time Thursday publicly disclosed a foiled coup plot, charging four military officers and a civilian with conspiring to topple the government by shooting down a helicopter carrying President Olusegun Obasanjo. Maj. Hamza al-Mustapha, former chief of personal security to late military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha, and four others were each charged with two counts of treason in a federal high court.

Pakistan

WANA — Pakistani troops backed by helicopter gunships poured artillery and mortar fire at al-Qaida-linked militants led by a former Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prisoner hiding in a mountainous village near the Afghan border, officials said.

Russia

MOSCOW — Russia's military prosecutor said Thursday that Human Rights Watch was mistaken in its accusations of widespread hazing in the military and said Russia had already made serious efforts to combat the problem.

Spain

MADRID — Three Algerians who were considered close to the suspected ringleader of the Madrid train bombings are being questioned about an alleged suicide plot to blow up Spain's National Court, officials said Thursday. Spanish police said the three Algerians are among 10 prisoners who have been isolated from other inmates for questioning over a possible link to the alleged plot to kill judges investigating Islamic terrorists.

Ukraine

KIEV — The main opposition bloc stepped up its pre-election rhetoric Thursday, accusing the government of mounting a "terror" campaign against opponents, while Kiev's mayor warned he would declare a state of emergency if civil unrest breaks out.