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WORLD IN BRIEF

Tuesday, March 15, 2005; Page A20

22 Dead in Philippines As Police Retake Prison

MANILA, Philippines -- Police launched a major assault Tuesday on a maximum-security prison in Manila taken over by al Qaeda-linked inmates, killing at least 22 prisoners.

Interior Secretary Angelo Reyes said the dead included four leaders of the Muslim extremist Abu Sayyaf group, including two men who headed a botched escape attempt Monday in which five people were killed.

The raid began after authorities gave the inmates a 15-minute deadline to surrender, an ultimatum that came after hours of fruitless negotiations.

THE MIDDLE EAST

• JERUSALEM -- The final route of Israel's separation barrier around Jerusalem will encompass large areas claimed by the Palestinians, including their intended capital and the biggest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, Israeli officials confirmed Monday. The route would also place Rachel's Tomb, a Jewish holy site in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem, on the Israeli side of the barrier, while leaving the Shuafat Palestinian refugee camp in Jerusalem encircled by a separate fence, the officials said.

Late Monday, Israeli and Palestinian cabinet ministers agreed again on a handover of the West Bank town of Jericho to Palestinian security forces. Earlier deals fell through over details about roadblocks. Israeli officials said the handover is set for Wednesday, to be followed two or three days later by the handover of Tulkarm, then Qalqilyah.

AMMAN, Jordan -- A Jordanian captured in Iraq who is allegedly linked to al Qaeda pleaded not guilty to charges of involvement in the October 2002 killing of U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley in Amman. Muammar Ahmed Yousef Jaghbeer, 34, had already been sentenced to death in absentia in the slaying.

ASIA

MANILA -- Laboratory tests show that 27 schoolchildren who died after eating cassava roots last week were poisoned with a pesticide, health experts said. Authorities earlier said they suspected the victims from the town of Mabini were sickened with cyanide poisoning that occurs if cassava roots are not properly cooked. But Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit told reporters that tests showed that carbamate, commonly used by farms and households, was likely the cause.

THE AMERICAS

LA PAZ, Bolivia -- Stranded trucks with rotting cargo snaked through the Bolivian jungle as roadblocks set up by anti-government protesters stalled traffic and fueled fears of a food shortage in major cities.

President Carlos Mesa, who threatened to quit last week, warned that the government might run out of cash to pay public salaries in two weeks because the blockades have impeded commerce nationwide.

Protesters say they fear Mesa's plans to open Bolivia's energy sector to more foreign investment will loot the Andean country's natural wealth with no benefit for them.

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Former cult leader and convicted pedophile Paul Schaefer was questioned for the first time about his possible involvement in the disappearance of political prisoners during Chile's 1973-90 military dictatorship.


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