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6 charged in effort to fly Chad children

N’DJAMENA, Chad — Chad charged six French citizens with kidnapping after they tried to fly out 103 African children from the remote border region with Sudan, bandaging them up to look injured and claiming they were Darfur orphans in need of rescue.

The case threatens to impede aid efforts for hundreds of thousands of Darfur refugees by intensifying already deep local suspicions about the motives of humanitarian workers.

Seventeen Europeans have been detained since Thursday, when authorities blocked an attempt by a French group calling itself L’Arche de Zoe — Zoe’s Ark — to fly the African children to Europe, where they were to be placed with host families.

Palestine issues talks condition

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The chief Palestinian peace negotiator raised the stakes Tuesday for a U.S.-sponsored peace conference, saying there will be no talks with Israel unless it agrees to set a deadline for establishing a Palestinian state.

Ahmed Qureia’s ultimatum is the latest problem to beset already troubled plans for the conference. Arab nations have been slow to endorse the effort, and Israel is making only general promises instead of specific proposals.

However, it was unclear if the Palestinians could afford to follow through with their ultimatum, boycotting a conference called by President Bush at a time when moderate President Mahmoud Abbas needs Western support and U.S. aid in his struggle against Hamas, which expelled his loyalists and took over Gaza in June. Instead, the threat could be a ploy to wring concessions from Israel.

N. Korea to accept halved nuclear deal

PANMUNJOM, Korea — North Korea agreed Tuesday to accept half of the economic aid it has been promised for disabling its nuclear reactor in energy-related equipment and other materials, a South Korean official said.

The chief U.S. nuclear envoy said a team of experts would go to the North this week to disable the reactor, which produces plutonium for bombs.

North Korea had been promised 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil for disabling the reactor and other facilities. The U.S. had said some of the oil aid would be given in other forms of assistance, as Pyongyang only has limited capability to receive oil shipments.

Suicide bomber kills 7 in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A bomber blew himself up about a quarter-mile from President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s office Tuesday, killing seven people and deepening Pakistan’s insecurity ahead of crucial elections.

Officials said the attacker detonated his explosives among police at a checkpoint in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, just south of the capital, Islamabad.

Musharraf was safely inside Army House, about a quarter-mile away, where the blast was clearly heard, said presidential spokesman Rashid Qureshi. The checkpoint guards a road leading to the president’s compound and the residences of several top generals.

Turkish helicopters pound rebel bases

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s prime minister said Tuesday increased military action against separatist Kurdish rebels was “unavoidable” and pressed the United States for a crackdown on guerrilla bases in northern Iraq.

Turkish helicopters pounded rebel positions near the border with rockets for a second day and Turkey brought in troops by the truckload in an operation against mountainside emplacements.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told members of his party in parliament “it is now unavoidable that Turkey will have to go through a more intensive military process.”

U.N. urges U.S. to trade with Cuba

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. General Assembly voted for the 16th straight year Tuesday to urge the U.S. to end its trade embargo against Cuba, whose foreign minister accused the U.S. of stepping up its “brutal economic war” to new heights.

The 192-member world body approved a resolution calling for the 46-year-old U.S. economic and commercial embargo against Cuba to be repealed as soon as possible.

“The blockade had never been enforced with such viciousness as over the last year,” Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque told the assembly, accusing President Bush’s administration of adopting “new measures bordering on madness and fanaticism” that have hurt Cuba and interfered in its relations with at least 30 countries.

Compiled From Wire Reports

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

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