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MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2007
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World In Brief

Taliban, S. Korea talks hit snag

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Face-to-face talks between the Taliban and South Korean officials over the fate of 21 hostages will not happen unless the officials travel to Taliban territory or the U.N. guarantees the militants’ safety elsewhere, a purported spokesman said Sunday.

The spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, said the militants had talked to the Korean officials “many times” over the phone the last three days but that there had been “no results.”

Floodwaters recede from South Asia

BARABANKI, India — Floodwaters across South Asia began to recede Sunday as torrential monsoon rains eased, allowing doctors to treat scores of people suffering from waterborne diseases and deliver medicine to prevent the outbreak of epidemics.

But hunger, thirst and the need for safe shelter still stalked the region, where millions have been displaced by flooding. The death toll also marched relentlessly upward, with at least 289 people killed in the past week, authorities said.

Since the June start of the monsoon season, the government says more than 1,200 people have died in India alone, with scores of others killed in Bangladesh and neighboring Nepal. Some 14 million people in India and 5 million in Bangladesh have been displaced by flooding, according to government figures.

300-plus gunmen give up weapons

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Most gunmen with ties to President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement have given up their weapons as part of an amnesty deal that seeks to improve ties between Israel and Abbas’s moderate Palestinian leadership, a senior Palestinian security official said Sunday.

Relations between Israel and the moderate leaders in the West Bank have been improving rapidly since the violent takeover of Gaza by Fatah’s rival, the Islamic militant Hamas, in June.

A major confidence booster for both sides has been Israel’s amnesty offer for gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a violent Fatah offshoot that has carried out scores of attacks against Israelis since 2000.

Under the program launched last month, more than 300 Al Aqsa gunmen have surrendered their weapons to Palestinian authorities and pledged to refrain from violence, said a senior Palestinian security official.

UK foot-in-mouth strain came from lab

PIRBRIGHT, England — Biosafety experts scoured a high-security animal laboratory in rural England Sunday to determine how a strain of the foot-and-mouth virus may have escaped from a facility dedicated to eliminating the devastating animal disease.

Officials increasingly suspect that the lab — home to a government research center and a company that makes foot-and-mouth vaccine — was the source of the outbreak on a nearby farm.

That has raised hopes that the disease was not spread by
other animals and could be contained.

The particular strain of the highly infectious disease was identical to one used at the lab and had not recently been seen in live animals, the agriculture department said.

U.S. al-Qaida man threatens diplomats

CAIRO, Egypt — An American member of al-Qaida threatened foreign diplomats and embassies across the Islamic world in a new video Sunday, saying they would targeted as “spy dens.”

The 1 hour, 17 minute video also featured a computer-animated recreation of a March 2006 suicide attack that killed U.S. diplomat David Foy in Karachi, Pakistan, and testimony from a man who claimed to be the bomber.

“We shall continue to target you, at home and abroad, just as you target us, at home and abroad, and these spy dens and military command and control centers from which you plotted your aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq,”
said Adam Gadahn, a Californian also known as Azzan al-Amriki.

Boy rescued after 6 hours in Dead Sea

JERUSALEM — An 8-year-old Israeli boy spent six hours floating in the Dead Sea alone at night after his father left him there by accident during a family trip, police said Sunday.

Police said they would not press charges against the errant parent

The Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth and one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions, has an abnormally high salt concentration that allows swimmers to float on the surface.

Rescue workers said the boy, Shneur Zalman Friedman, from Jerusalem, was in the sea with his father and two brothers on Thursday evening when currents swept him away from shore, without anyone else noticing.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the family was part of a large group visiting a beach reserved for ultra-Orthodox Jewish men — who do not bathe in the presence of women — away from main public
areas.

The Associated Press

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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