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World datelines

Afghanistan

KABUL — Afghan intelligence agents backed by international peacekeepers arrested 25 people allegedly linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida in an early morning raid in eastern Kabul Saturday, a spokesman for the peacekeepers said.

Australia

MELBOURNE — The government will press on with a child pornography crackdown despite the suicides of four people being investigated in the operation, an official said Saturday. Justice Minister Chris Ellison said the deaths were regrettable but vowed they would not hinder Australia's biggest crackdown on child porn, an operation that he said would likely lead to 500 arrests.

Britain

LONDON — Looking relaxed, Prime Minister Tony Blair left for his country residence Saturday to spend the weekend recovering from an operation to correct an irregular heartbeat, his office said.

China

BEIJING — Beijing saw double on Saturday as the Chinese capital opened its first festival for twins, attracting hundreds of lookalike siblings — a rare sight in a society where birth control rules limit most urban families to one child.

Denmark

COPENHAGEN — Denmark is joining Russia and Canada to see if it can lay a claim to the North Pole — and whatever natural riches may lie beneath it.

Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haitians demanding the return of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide hurled stones and fired shots in the air Saturday as the death toll from a surge of violence in the Haitian capital rose to 14. Three pro-Aristide politicians, meanwhile, barricaded themselves in a radio station for six hours before surrendering to police, denying involvement in the clashes.

Indonesia

JAKARTA — An Islamic militant group claiming to have kidnapped two Indonesian women in Iraq demanded the release of a jailed Indonesian cleric, but the cleric Saturday refused to be freed in an exchange, saying hostage-taking is not in keeping with Islam.

Lebanon

BEIRUT — A military prosecutor has charged 35 Arab nationals and alleged members of an al-Qaida-linked terror group with plotting to bomb foreign targets in Lebanon, including the Italian and Ukrainian diplomatic missions, judicial officials said Saturday. But only nine of the 35 defendants are in police custody, the officials said on condition of anonymity. The remaining suspects, including Lebanese, Saudis, Palestinians and Syrians, remain at large.

Mexico

TIJUANA — A group of Mexicans marched solemnly for miles along a road lined with white crosses to mark the 10 years since the United States launched a border crackdown they say has contributed to the deaths of thousands of migrants.

Nigeria

ABUJA — A militia leader who threatened "full-scale" war in this country's oil-rich Niger Delta made a triumphant return to his southern stronghold on Saturday, one day after making a tentative deal in the capital to disarm his fighters.

Romania

BUCHAREST — Former Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan announced Saturday that he has withdrawn from Romania's presidential election because of poor health.

South Korea

SEOUL — South Korea boosted security around air and sea ports and its diplomatic missions overseas Saturday after an audiotape attributed to al-Qaida urged Muslim youths to attack the United States and its allies, including South Korea.

Vatican

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican's top official for family issues decried as a "sad step" Saturday the Spanish government's proposal to allow homosexuals to marry and adopt children. The remarks on Vatican Radio by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, kept up Pope John Paul II's campaign against gay marriage. Spain's Cabinet proposed the measure Friday despite opposition by the influential Roman Catholic Church.

VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II denounced kidnappers for using human beings as bargaining chips, and said Saturday that journalists were paying a heavy price in their work during conflicts.