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Slovakia: Disaster

BRATISLAVA — Sixteen bodies have been recovered from a Slovak coal mine following a fire and explosion, and four other people are also believed to have died, authorities said Tuesday.

Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek said rescue workers initially found six bodies in the Handlova mine in central Slovakia. Mine director Peter Cicmanec said a further three bodies were later found as rescue units, engineers and medics battled high temperatures to reach the scene Tuesday, and state and mine authorities announced later in the day 16 bodies have already been recovered.

Jahnatek said it was unlikely any of the 20 people missing in the mine survived.

Thailand: Extradition

BANGKOK — A Thai court on Tuesday rejected a U.S. request to extradite a Russian arms dealer who allegedly sold weapons to dictators and warlords around the world, raising the prospect that he could be freed by the weekend.

The unexpected ruling in favor of Viktor Bout was welcomed by Russia. The United States, which had mounted the sting operation that led to his arrest at a Bangkok hotel, said it was "mystified" by the court's decision.

Bangkok Criminal Court Judge Chittakorn Pattanasiri said Thai prosecutors have 72 hours to indicate whether to appeal, and, if not, Bout will be set free. If an appeal is filed, Bout will be held pending further proceedings.

Honduras: Protest

TEGUCIGALPA — Thousands opposing the coup-installed government marched into the capital Tuesday after staging weeklong walks across Honduras, producing one of the largest demonstrations in support of President Manuel Zelaya since he was ousted.

A long column of about 10,000 protesters carrying Honduran flags and signs denouncing interim President Roberto Micheletti arrived in downtown Tegucigalpa where Zelaya's wife, Xiomara Castro, welcomed them.

Venezuela: Protest

CARACAS — Hundreds protested outside Venezuela's legislature Tuesday against an education bill that they charge will open the way for President Hugo Chavez's government to indoctrinate children with socialist ideology.

Some 1,000 people chanted "Don't mess with my kids!" and urged members of the predominantly pro-Chavez National Assembly to reconsider the proposed legislation. The bill, which would affect both state and private schools, is expected to receive final approval in the coming weeks.

Congo: Clinton tour

GOMA — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton toured an African refugee camp Tuesday crowded with victims of violence and malnutrition, pledging $17 million in American aid to help stem the tide of rampant sexual abuse that has staggered war-ravaged eastern Congo.

Clinton's voice cracked with emotion as she described an epidemic of rapes that has convulsed the Congo over 10 years of internecine conflict. "We say to the world that those who attack civilian populations using systematic rape are guilty of crimes against humanity," she said.

Afghanistan: Deaths

KABUL — U.S. and NATO deaths from roadside and suicide bomb blasts in Afghanistan soared six-fold in July compared with the same month last year, as militants detonated the highest number of bombs of the eight-year war, figures released Tuesday showed.

Three U.S. Marines and a Polish soldier died in the latest attacks, setting August on course to surpass the record 75 deaths U.S. and NATO troops suffered from all causes in July.