Chile: Currency flub
SANTIAGO — An engraver fired by Chile's mint for an error that led to the release of 1.5 million coins featuring the country of "CHIIE" said Friday that his bosses deliberately covered up the mistake. The error showed up on Chilean 50-peso pieces for the year 2009.
Engraver Pedro Urzua Lizana told The Associated Press he unknowingly left off the bottom part of the letter "l" when, in December 2008, he was hurriedly fixing a minor deformity in the original mold for making the dies to stamp out the coin. The coins were released to the public last year but no one at the mint, including himself, knew about the error until a coin collector called in October to point it out, he said.
Guatemala: 2 arrested
GUATEMALA CITY — Two former Guatemalan soldiers have been arrested in the 1982 massacre of more than 200 villagers during the country's civil war, a human rights activist said Friday.
Aura Farfan of the Association of Missing Relatives of Guatemala said two former sergeants who belonged to a military squad specializing in counterinsurgency were arrested Tuesday. She identified them as Manuel Pop Sun and Reyes Collin Gualip
Ivory Coast: Dissolved
ABIDJAN — Ivory Coast's president has dissolved the government and disbanded the election commission, throwing into doubt the political reconciliation process in a divided country that was about to hold elections.
"The government is dissolved," President Laurent Gbagbo announced in a recorded message late Friday broadcast on national television, specifying that Prime Minister Guillaume Soro will be asked to stay on to form a new government. The move comes two months after the government last failed to hold presidential elections to either re-elect or replace Gbagbo whose term expired five years ago. A date for the election has been set — and then canceled — every year since 2005.
Mexico: Tunnel found
TIJUANA — Mexican troops have found an unfinished tunnel apparently designed to burrow under the U.S. border starting from a Mexican customs facility.
A statement issued Friday by Mexico's army says soldiers found the 16-yard-long tunnel at Mexican federal customs in Tijuana. The army says the tunnel is 3 feet across but provides no other details. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack says the Mexican army has told U.S. officials that the tunnel was about 160 feet from reaching the border.
Norway: Paper protest
OSLO — About 2,500 people marched through downtown Oslo in a protest Friday against a Norwegian newspaper that printed a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.
The demonstrators chanted "God is great" in Arabic and waved placards calling for a boycott of the Dagbladet daily.
On Feb. 3, the newspaper published a photograph showing a man in front of a computer screen with a depiction of Muhammad as a pig. The picture accompanied an article that said users were posting offensive material about Muslims and Jews on the Facebook page of Norway's security police.
Pakistan: India talks
ISLAMABAD — Senior officials from Pakistan and India will hold talks later this month, the first formal dialogue between the nuclear-armed rivals since the deadly Mumbai siege of 2008.
Pakistan's government said its foreign secretary would meet his Indian counterpart in New Delhi on Feb. 25. The meeting marks a significant thawing of relations between the two countries., which plummeted after the Mumbai attack that India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
Russia: Deadly clash
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia — Russian officials said Friday that at least 14 suspected Islamic militants had been killed and one police officer wounded in two days of fighting in the volatile southern province of Ingushetia.
The clash, in the forested mountains near the border with Chechnya, was one of the bloodiest and most prolonged in Ingushetia in recent months.
Ingushetia has not seen a full-scale insurgent war like the two that broke out in Chechnya over the past decade and a half, but suffers persistent small-scale clashes between militants and police and soldiers.
SAN'A, Yemen — A senior Yemeni official, Deputy Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Mohammed Abdullah al-Qawsi, on Friday accused northern rebels of violating a cease-fire agreement hours after it took effect, killing a soldier and wounding another in an attack on a police station.
But government authorities and rebel leaders both insisted the truce deal still holds, despite minor flare-ups in fighting between the sides. Abdullah al-Qawsi said the rebels attacked a security office and opened fire on his convoy in the northern province of Saada.