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BEIJING — As many as 19 people believed to be North Korean asylum seekers tried to dash into a South Korean consulate building in Beijing early today, but only three succeeded, a diplomat and a news report said. Some of the rest were taken away by Chinese guards while others fled the scene, an Asian diplomat in Beijing and South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said. It wasn't clear how many were caught by police.


BOGOTA — Colombia's armed forces blew up 6,800 stockpiled land mines Sunday as President Alvaro Uribe, Queen Noor of Jordan and dozens of mine blast victims watched on large screens, launching an effort to eventually rid the country of the weapons. The queen, U.S. Ambassador William Wood and other dignitaries gathered at Bogota's main plaza as the land mines were destroyed in eight thunderous explosions in a rural area near the northern city of Barranquilla.


LONDON — Political opponents of Prime Minister Tony Blair launched a renewed attack on his handling of the Iraq conflict Sunday, as British soldiers prepared to move deeper into the country to support U.S. troops. Four senior members of previous Conservative Party governments, including former Prime Minister John Major, leveled a series of allegations against Blair ranging from accusations of outright lying to moving British troops deeper into Iraq and into much more dangerous territory to help President Bush in the approaching U.S. election.


TEHRAN — Iran called a European proposal seeking indefinite suspension of its nuclear activities "unbalanced" but said Sunday the Europeans made the right decision to engage in dialogue. In talks Thursday in Vienna, Austria, envoys from Britain, France and Germany reportedly offered civilian nuclear technology and a trade deal to the Iranians in return for Iran permanently giving up all uranium enrichment activities — technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons.


BEIRUT — Gunmen in Iraq have abducted a 7-year-old Lebanese boy and are demanding $150,000 for his release, Lebanon's official news agency reported Sunday. The boy, identified as Mohammed Hamad, was kidnapped two days ago on his way home from school in the Diyala province east of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the state-run National News Agency said. The boy's father has lived in Iraq for 30 years.


TEOTIHUACAN — More than 300 demonstrators streamed into the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan on Sunday and climbed partway up the towering Pyramid of the Sun, the latest in a string of protests against the construction of a Wal-Mart-owned store nearby. Lugging huge banners and waving signs decrying Wal-Mart and other international corporations, protesters who had chosen to stay out of the national park during previous demonstrations surprised tourists and visitors by setting up near the ruins' tallest pyramid.


MADRID — Spain's prisons are breeding grounds for Islamic militants, a judge warned after filing terrorism charges against 17 people who allegedly plotted to ram a truck packed with explosives into the National Court. The 17 charged late Saturday wanted "to end the lives of those inside" — mainly judges and anti-terror investigators — "and destroy archives which concern 'mujahedeen brothers,"' Judge Baltasar Garzon said in a court order. The National Court is a hub for Spain's investigations into Islamic terrorism.


TAIPEI — Strong winds and heavy rains lashed eastern Taiwan as Typhoon Nock-ten began battering the island Sunday night. One fisherman was missing, police said. Forecasters expected the full force of the storm to hit the island early today.


ANKARA — Two Turkish soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit a land mine in southeastern Turkey, and a small oil pipeline was damaged by a bomb in two attacks Sunday blamed on Kurdish rebels, the Anatolia news agency reported.

United Arab Emirates

DUBAI — Arab viewers of a soap opera about Afghanistan apparently won't learn how the love story ends after the series was suspended following Internet threats against anyone involved in airing it. The series — "Al-Tareeq ila Kabul," Arabic for "The Road to Kabul" — chronicled life under Afghanistan's former Taliban rulers. It was being aired during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.