ASIA

Explosions Kill Three

In Eastern Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Explosions ripped through a McDonald's restaurant and a car dealership in eastern Indonesia yesterday, killing three people and wounding two, police said.

The explosions occurred an hour apart in the South Sulawesi capital of Ujungpandang, 1,000 miles east of Jakarta, said police Sgt. Hidayat, who uses one name.

Bomb blasts have become a regular feature of the conflict between Muslims and Christians on Sulawesi island.

No one took responsibility for the blasts, Hidayat said. He declined to say what caused the explosion at the car dealership, owned by Indonesian Welfare Minister Yusuf Kalla.

Meanwhile, the national police said that Mukhlas, the alleged operations chief of Jemaah Islamiyah, has confessed to helping plan the Bali bombings.

Associated Press

Dozens Are Arrested

After E. Timor Riots

DILI, East Timor -- Police arrested 80 people after violence in the East Timorese capital left three dead and dozens of buildings -- including the prime minister's residence -- in ruins.

The rioting, which appeared to subside yesterday, was the worst unrest in East Timor since it became the world's newest nation in May, and indicates rising discontent. Most of East Timor's 800,000 people are poor and have gained few benefits of independence.

Associated Press

Russia Shows Power

In Kyrgyz Airspace

KANT AIR BASE, Kyrgyzstan -- Soaring in formation before separating amid a blossom of flares, Russian warplanes put on a show of force above a Kyrgyz air base that is to be Moscow's answer to the heightened U.S. presence in Central Asia.

In a private air show for visiting Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, three Su-27 fighters screamed across the cold skies above Kant air base, the planned home of a rapid-reaction force under a treaty signed by a group of former Soviet republics.

Later, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev signed an agreement to bolster security cooperation. The two presidents also signed a declaration stating their intention to fight international terrorism, illegal weapons and drug trafficking, illegal immigration and organized crime.

The Russian planes are testing the facilities at Kant for the eventual permanent deployment of forces under the Collective Security Treaty, whose members also include Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. The deployment is Moscow's first significant military response in Central Asia to the presence of U.S.-led troops in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Associated Press

THE AMERICAS

Colombian Mayor

Is Assassinated

BOGOTA, Colombia -- The mayor of the western Colombian town of Ambalema was assassinated, apparently after going to a meeting with the country's main rebel group, authorities said after his body was found in a rural area.

Jesus Antonio Nunez was the 13th mayor to be killed this year. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, has threatened to kill or kidnap mayors who refuse to resign.

Associated Press

Paraguayans Move

To Impeach Leader

ASUNCION, Paraguay -- Paraguay's Congress voted to start impeachment proceedings against President Luis Gonzalez Macchi, who is besieged by corruption scandals and an economic slump.

The Chamber of Deputies charged Gonzalez Macchi with misusing state funds and buying a stolen luxury car. The Senate, which has the final say on whether to remove him from office, will begin debating in about two weeks. Both bodies are dominated by the ruling Colorado Party.

The government said Gonzalez Macchi would not resign. The president, who was attending a regional summit in Brazil, said the impeachment proceedings were politically motivated.

Reuters