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World datelines

Congo

BUKAVU — Renegade troops battled with government forces on the outskirts of this strategic Congolese city on Tuesday, despite U.N. efforts to end a crisis that threatens to derail the country's peace process.

England

LONDON — The British Broadcasting Corp. has decided to hire armed guards from Western countries in "exceptional circumstances" to protect its journalists working in hostile areas, the broadcaster said Tuesday. The shift in policy was announced after an attack by gunmen on a BBC television crew Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. An Irish cameraman, Simon Cumbers, 36, was killed in the shooting, and a British reporter, Frank Gardner, 42, was critically injured.

Gabon

LIBREVILLE — A small commercial airplane crashed into the Atlantic off the West African nation of Gabon on Tuesday, company officials said. Authorities rescued 10 people on board and were searching for 20 others. The craft was a two-engine propeller plane flown by Gabon Express, a private Gabon company, heading from the capital, Libreville, to the southern city of Franceville.

Israel

JERUSALEM — The leader of a pro-settler party resigned from the Cabinet on Tuesday, dealing a further blow to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's shaky ruling coalition after the approval of his Gaza withdrawal plan. With the exit of Housing Minister Effie Eitam, leader of the National Religious Party, or NRP, Sharon no longer commands a majority in parliament, but his opponents don't appear to have enough votes to bring him down.

Japan

TOKYO — An 11-year-old girl will face a juvenile trial at a family court in southern Japan on charges of killing her classmate with a box-cutter, authorities announced Tuesday. Court officials decided to put her on trial after reviewing the case, a Nagasaki prefecture Family Court spokesman said. Under Japanese law, she will not be tried for criminal responsibility because she is under 14.

Russia

MOSCOW — Authorities in Yuri Andropov's home region Tuesday unveiled a monument to the former Soviet leader and secret-police chief hailing his work in keeping the country under control. The bronze monument stands in Petrozavodsk, capital of Karelia in the north about 130 miles from the Finnish border.

Saudi Arabia

RIYADH — An American who worked for a U.S. defense contractor was shot and killed Tuesday in the Saudi capital, the second deadly shooting of a Westerner in the kingdom in three days. An unknown assailant killed the man in his home, said a spokesman for Vinnell Corp., based in Fairfax, Va.

South Korea

SEOUL — The next round of six-nation talks on the dispute over North Korea's nuclear weapons development is likely to occur in Beijing on June 23-26, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday. Ban's comments confirmed South Korean and Japanese news reports last week that the talks would start June 23. Ban had previously said he expected the negotiations to resume by the end of the month.

Ukraine

KIEV — An American-Ukrainian joint venture has been awarded a contract worth $78 million to equip Iraq's new army, the Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday. The order was the first involving a Ukrainian business venture in the postwar reconstruction of Iraq, Foreign Ministry spokesman Markian Lubkivsky said. He refused to name the company or give any details.

Vatican

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is releasing more that 2 million files on prisoners of war and other missing persons from its secret archives, part of efforts to emphasize the humanitarian aspects of the World War II papacy of Pope Pius XII, officials announced Tuesday. The Vatican said the documentation was "testimony to the ample charitable and social work inspired by principles of universality and impartiality" during Pius' pontificate. For years, the Vatican has struggled to defend its wartime pope against claims he didn't do enough to save Jews from the Holocaust.

Venezuela

CARACAS — President Hugo Chavez will face a recall referendum, the elections council said Tuesday, setting the date of Aug. 15 for the vote. Venezuela's opposition had compiled 2.54 million votes to demand the recall, surpassing the 2.43 million needed as set by the constitution, elections council president Francisco Carrasquero said.