ORANJESTAD — Natalee Holloway's mother said Saturday that prosecutors in Aruba want to interview her daughter's former classmates in Alabama about the teenager's disappearance. Beth Holloway Twitty repeated her charge that Aruban officials ignored leads and botched the case.


BAKU — Azerbaijan's ruling party took an early lead in Sunday's parliamentary elections in this oil-rich, strategically located former Soviet republic that has been led by the same family for years, but the opposition charged widespread fraud. The ballot was closely watched for signs of improvement on flawed past elections that sparked violence and instability.


LONDON — Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged Saturday that his governing Labour Party was facing a crisis over some of his policies, while his predecessor, John Major, said the government was tainted by "sleaze." Blair spoke of his party's problems in an interview with The Guardian newspaper published Saturday.


BEIJING — China said Sunday it had asked for outside help to test three possible cases of bird flu in people, while scientists and government representatives prepared for a strategy session in Geneva amid fears of a possible worldwide flu pandemic among humans. Chinese experts "cannot rule out the possibility of human transmission of H5N1 bird flu" in the cases of the three.

BEIJING — An explosion at a coal mine in northern China killed 13 miners and left three missing on Sunday, the government said. Twenty-five miners were working underground when the explosion occurred at the Taiping Colliery in Shanxi province's Qingxu County, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.


LUCKNOW — A Hindu mob attacked a Muslim village in northern India, torching homes and killing three people, after hearing rumors that cows, considered holy by Hindus, were slaughtered for Islamic celebrations, police said Sunday.

NEW DELHI — The government on Sunday named an envoy to investigate the credibility of claims in a U.N. report that the Indian foreign minister benefited illegally from the oil-for-food humanitarian program in Iraq.


TEHRAN — Facing continued criticism for its president's call for Israel's destruction, Iran launched a charm offensive Sunday by proposing resumed nuclear talks with Europe, saying it allowed U.N. inspectors to visit a sensitive military facility and pledging to boost relations with former enemy Iraq.

TEHRAN — U.N. nuclear inspectors were granted access to a high-security military site in Iran and were permitted to meet senior personnel at the facility, an Iranian official said Sunday. Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told visiting Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi that Tehran supports Iraq's territorial integrity and believes a powerful government in Baghdad is in Iran's interests.


ROME — An Italian mother who raised 11 children moved ahead on the road to possible sainthood Sunday amid a Vatican campaign in favor of large families. Eurosia Fabris, known as "Mamma Rosa," raised two children whose mother died while they were little, then married their father and had nine children with him.

ROME — Italy said Sunday that Iran was isolating itself with its call for the destruction of Israel — the latest retort reflecting increasing diplomatic tensions between the two countries. "No one wants to isolate Iran," Italy's Foreign Ministry said. "On the contrary we all hope that Tehran, adopting responsible conduct, wants to play a role of stabilization in its region, but it is Iran which inevitably isolates itself the moment it denies the right to exist to another state and other people."


ISLAMABAD — It is unlikely any civilians will be allowed to cross the Kashmir frontier between India and Pakistan on schedule because of procedural glitches, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday, one day ahead of a much-anticipated opening of several crossing points.


MOGADISHU — Gunmen threw grenades and a land mine exploded near a convoy carrying Somalia's prime minister on Sunday, but the leader escaped unharmed, officials said. At least five bodyguards were killed and 14 other people wounded in the attack.