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ORANJESTAD — The mother of an Alabama honors student missing in this Caribbean island for over two months said Monday the investigation into the teen's disappearance has been marred by ineptitude and more than doubled the reward for help in solving the case to $250,000. Natalee Holloway's mother, renewing criticism of authorities on the Dutch Caribbean island, said police had given her copies of statements from witnesses and other documents from the investigation that have led her to believe investigators are on the wrong track.


CANBERRA — Australia and China are negotiating an agreement to allow Australia to export uranium to China for peaceful purposes, the foreign minister said Tuesday. Preliminary talks are already under way to secure a Chinese commitment that the uranium would be used only for electricity generation, said Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.


RIO DE JANEIRO — A former president has disclosed that the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil for two decades tried to develop an atomic bomb but says the program was scrapped when an elected government assumed power in 1985. The 1964-85 dictatorship was long suspected of seeking nuclear weapons, but ex-President Jose Sarney's comments Sunday were the first confirmation of the program.


NEW DELHI — India and Pakistan agreed Monday to extend a 2-year-old cease-fire in disputed Kashmir but did not discuss the question of reducing their military presence there, an Indian official said. Delegates at the talks also agreed not to develop new guard posts or defense installments along the cease-fire line dividing the Himalayan territory claimed by both nations, said Navtej Sarna, a spokesman for India's External Affairs Ministry.


TOKYO — Stung by defeat on a cherished economic reform, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will lead a bruised and fractured ruling party into elections next month amid the prospect of being ousted from power after almost 50 years of uninterrupted rule. Privatizing the post office's staggeringly rich savings account system has been a decade-long quest for Koizumi. But bills to break up Japan Post and create the world's biggest bank were rejected by Parliament's upper house Monday with the help of defectors from his own Liberal Democratic Party. Koizumi retaliated by dissolving the legislature's more powerful lower chamber and scheduling a Sept. 11 election for its 480 seats.


NOUAKCHOTT — Mauritania's ousted president vowed Monday he would return to power and called on his country's armed forces to reverse last week's coup. President Maaoya Sid'Ahmed Ould Taya, now in exile in nearby Niger, made the appeal in an interview on the Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya that was broadcast in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott.


NUEVO LAREDO — The U.S. consulate in this violence-wracked border city reopened Monday, a week after the U.S. ambassador to Mexico ordered it closed, citing a wave of violence along the border. Security was tightened at the consulate and two Nuevo Laredo police officers kept watch on people waiting in line. Four other municipal officers circled the building on bicycles, while federal agents and soldiers drove by repeatedly. U.S. Consul Michael Yoder said he had asked Mexican officials to send more officers to guard the consulate.

Saudi Arabia

RIYADH — King Abdullah on Monday pardoned four prominent activists who were jailed after criticizing the strict religious environment in Saudi Arabia and the slow pace of democratic reform. A Saudi Television anchor read a statement from Interior Minister Prince Nayef saying the king, who has pushed an unprecedented campaign for greater democracy in the kingdom, had ordered the release of the four.


HARARE — President Robert Mugabe on Monday rejected calls for talks with Zimbabwe's opposition leader on resolving the country's political and economic crisis. In a clear reference to neighboring South Africa, Mugabe said he is getting pressure to hold talks with opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai from "quarters that should know better."