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World datelines


KABUL — Two U.S. Marines were killed and another wounded in an attack in eastern Afghanistan, where troops are hunting Taliban and al-Qaida fighters, the U.S. military said Friday.

KABUL — With armed Afghan guards at the gate and a Democrat donkey mascot munching leaves in the shade, dozens of American expatriates held a fund-raiser in Kabul on Friday for U.S. presidential hopeful John Kerry.


HAVANA — A writer whose published diary entries offered a glimpse of life behind bars in Cuba has been released from prison, becoming the sixth of the 75 dissidents jailed last year in a major crackdown to be freed. Manuel Vazquez Portal, 52, was released late Wednesday from Boniato Prison in the eastern city of Santiago.


DUESSELDORF — Vandals sprayed swastikas and Nazi SS symbols on more than 40 graves at a Jewish cemetery in western Germany, police said Friday.


ATHENS — A temporary elevator will help visitors unable to climb steps reach the Acropolis — the first such alteration in the ancient site's 2,500-year history, the culture ministry said Friday.


JAKARTA — Human rights activists on Friday rejected the U.S. description of an Indonesian man accused of murdering two American schoolteachers as a separatist rebel. The rights groups said Anthonius Wamang, far from being a member of the Free Papua Movement, has close ties to the Indonesian military, which is fighting the insurgency in the remote West Papua province.


TEHRAN — A gasoline tanker truck slammed into a row of packed buses, setting off fiery explosions that killed at least 71 people and injured 108 in southeastern Iran, officials said Friday. Many of the victims were burned alive because firefighting equipment had to arrive from Zahedan, about 70 miles away, said Heidar Ali Nouraei, the city's governor.


TOKYO — The Imperial Household Agency has asked Japan's media to refrain from taking photographs of Crown Princess Masako and allow her a "peaceful environment" as she seeks to recover from a stress-induced illness. Masako has received an outpouring of public sympathy — and a flood of media coverage — since her husband, Crown Prince Naruhito, suggested last month that unidentified palace officials were to blame for her ill health.


BEIRUT — A Lebanese translator who disappeared in the first week of the Iraq war was killed in the same firefight that claimed the life of a veteran British TV correspondent, the translator's employer, ITN television, said Friday. DNA tests indicate that remains found at the site are those of Hussein Osman, ITN said.


TIJUANA — A reputed drug hit man collared after a wild chase and shootout in this crime-riddled border city may have had a hand in the gangland style execution of newspaper editor Francisco Ortiz, authorities said. Mario Alberto Rivera Lopez was arrested and flown to Mexico City on Thursday.

Northern Ireland

LONDON — The prime ministers of Britain and Ireland said Friday they expect Northern Ireland's divided parties to decide by September whether they want to resume power-sharing.


WARSAW — A Polish court convicted a Roman Catholic priest Friday of sexually abusing six young girls during a decade-long period and imposed a two-year suspended prison sentence.


UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday that he would meet Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in Sudan next week in an effort to compel the Sudanese government to end the "catastrophe" facing its people. "The people of Darfur are suffering a catastrophe — terrible crimes have been committed against them," Annan said.


MADRID — Elderly veterans of the Spanish Civil War gathered to pay tribute Friday to tens of thousands of slain civilians buried in unmarked graves and called on the new Socialist government to help dig them up and identify the remains.