THE MIDDLE EAST
U.S. Airstrikes Kill 14 Civilians, Iraq Says
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- U.S. airstrikes in southern Iraq killed 14 civilians and wounded 17 others yesterday, the Iraqi military said.
The planes entered Iraq from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and "attacked our civilian installations," the military said in a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency.
The U.S. forces' Central Command in Florida said earlier its warplanes had attacked two military sites in southern Iraq -- a missile battery near Abu Sukhayr, 200 miles south of Baghdad, and a military communications site near Al Khidr, 150 miles southeast of the Iraqi capital -- after Iraqi antiaircraft guns fired at aircraft enforcing the "no-fly" zone. However, there was no immediate comment on the reported casualties.
The death toll is the highest reported by Iraq since it started challenging the planes maintaining the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq in December.
Israel Frees Longest-Held Palestinian Detainee
RAMIN, West Bank -- Israel's longest-held Palestinian detainee returned home after nearly six years in prison without charge or trial, in a case that brought new scrutiny on Israel's detention practices.
Thirty carloads of family members accompanied Osama Barham after he crossed the checkpoint between Israel and the West Bank, and relatives fired weapons into the air when the convoy rolled through his village of Ramin.
Barham, 35, was arrested in 1993 for membership in the militant group Islamic Jihad. According to his lawyer, Tamar Peleg-Shavit, the charges and evidence against him have been kept classified for security reasons and there has been no opportunity to counter them publicly.
Turkish Airstrikes Kill 5, Iran Says
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Turkish warplanes attacked Iran, killing five people and wounding 10 others, Iranian media said.
The attack reportedly took place in West Azerbaijan province, which borders Turkey. Turkey has been waging a campaign in its southeastern provinces against the Kurdish Workers' Party. In the past, Turkey has accused Iran of harboring the guerrillas, which Iran has denied.
State-run radio said the planes attacked a base of the government's paramilitary group, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and an unidentified village. But the government news agency said the aircraft attacked a border outpost and tribal tents.
Colombian Peace Talks Suspended Indefinitely
BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombia's long-awaited peace talks have been suspended indefinitely as the long-running guerrilla war flared anew with a rebel ambush on an army patrol in Bogota.
A fresh round of peace talks were to start today, a week after insurgents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) unleashed a 48-hour nationwide offensive in which some 300 people, mostly rebels, were reported killed.
But in a shock announcement late Saturday, government negotiators and FARC leaders said that they had failed to agree on creation of a team of international observers to monitor the talks and that the negotiations were being put on hold.
Mexico's `Volcano of Fire' Erupts Again
MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's ill-tempered "Volcano of Fire" erupted over the weekend, sending villagers scrambling to safety as it spewed hot ash four miles into the sky. Long-suffering residents once again evacuated the nearby village of Yerbabuena after the Colima volcano, 285 miles west of Mexico City, spewed large amounts of debris for the third time this year, the newspaper Reforma said.
Indian Troops Reclaim Kashmir Territory
MUSHKOH VALLEY, India -- Thousands of Indian soldiers swept across Kashmir mountains abandoned by withdrawing fighters, and India announced that two months of fighting with Pakistani-based militants had ended.
The army said it had reclaimed three of four battle zones along the cease-fire line in the disputed Kashmir region and said its soldiers would reoccupy the fourth zone, the Mushkoh Valley, by dawn today.
Fans Mourn Slain Cambodian Movie Star
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- More than 10,000 grieving fans, some spending their life savings to travel from the countryside, packed the funeral of a Cambodian film star shot two weeks ago.
Normally light Sunday morning traffic snarled as mourners poured into the courtyard of Phnom Penh University's School of Fine Arts, where murdered actress Piseth Peaklica taught traditional ballet.
Piseth Peaklica -- best known for her performance in movie-loving King Norodom Sihanouk's film "Shadow of Darkness" about life under the Khmer Rouge -- was shopping at a market July 6 when two gunmen shot her three times. She died a week later. Newspapers have reported rumors that the murder was arranged by the jealous wife of a top government official who allegedly had an affair with the actress.
Ahern Says IRA May Miss Deadline to Disarm
BELFAST -- Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said the crisis in Northern Ireland's peace process could mean Irish Republican Army guerrillas will miss next year's deadline for disarmament.
Ahern said he believed the IRA would want more time to disarm after plans to implement last year's Good Friday accord fell apart last week, triggering a review that will last several months.
Last year's peace accord set a May 2000 deadline for the handover of guerrilla weapons. Implementation of the accord has been stalled for more than a year on the issue of whether the IRA and loyalist paramilitary groups would give up their guns before or after a new regional government takes power in the British province.
FOR THE RECORD
TEHRAN -- Iran's secret police said it had detained student activist Manouchehr Mohammadi for fomenting recent unrest at the behest of exiled dissidents and foreign powers, including the United States.
BEIJING -- About 5,000 followers of the popular Falun Gong exercise and meditation group protested for two days outside government offices in eastern China to complain about a magazine's criticisms of the group, a human rights group said.
"We have a new democracy that is very fragile. Now there is a different revolution, where ideology doesn't have much importance. It's a fight to respect laws and institutions and fight corruption."
--Sergio Ramirez, vice president of Nicaragua in the 1980s under the Sandinista government -- Page A13