ASIA

Church Blast Victims Buried in Pakistan

LAHORE, Pakistan -- Three girls killed in a grenade explosion in a Pakistani church were buried yesterday, while Christians and Muslims alike denounced the Christmas Day attack that also wounded 13 people.

Police detained six people, including an Islamic cleric who had allegedly told his followers to kill Christians, after the attack on the one-room church that was filled mostly with women and girls.

Two assailants in burqas -- the head-to-toe garments worn by women in some Islamic countries -- threw the explosives at about 40 Pakistani worshipers, turning a Christmas service into blood-soaked chaos.

"I was praying when these two youngsters threw a shopping bag into the congregation," said Fazeelat James, 21, from her hospital bed. "Then something exploded and I fell down." She said the assailants were inside the church.

About 2,500 people gathered for a memorial service. Many of the mourners, mostly Christians from nearby towns, wept as the coffins of the victims, aged 6, 10 and 15, were carried to a cemetery for burial.

Associated Press

Ambush by Guerrillas

Kills 12 in Philippines

MANILA -- Suspected Muslim rebels ambushed a vehicle owned by a Canadian mining company in the southern Philippines, killing 12 people and injuring 10, the military said.

The attack followed a Christmas Eve bombing that killed 17 people, including a town mayor. Both were attributed to Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels, who denied involvement.

Lt. Col. Daniel Lucero, a spokesman for the military, said rebels attacked a vehicle belonging to TVI Pacific Inc., a Calgary-based company. All the victims were Filipino, he said.

He did not say why the military suspected the rebel group, except that the remote village of Baliguian in Zamboanga del Norte province on Mindanao island, where the attack took place, is a stronghold of Muslim rebels. Police accused the rebels of extorting money from the mining company.

Associated Press

Manila Extradites Legislator to Florida

MANILA -- After years of court battles, a wealthy Filipino legislator was extradited to Florida to face charges that he made illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic Party and former president Bill Clinton.

"I'll take my chances. I'm hoping for the best," Rep. Mark Jimenez said before boarding a commercial airliner with two U.S. marshals. "I'm going to the U.S.A. to solve my problems. . . . I have no remorse."

Jimenez was scheduled to arrive in Miami today.

Associated Press

THE AMERICAS

Haitian Journalist's

Home Is Attacked

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Gunmen opened fire on the home of a journalist who is the widow of another prominent journalist, killing a security guard on duty at the gate.

Michele Montas said the attack took place minutes after she arrived home in Petionville, just outside the capital, Port-au-Prince, about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The gunmen approached on foot and opened fire, killing the guard. A guard in the courtyard of the home was not injured. The gunmen escaped.

Montas's husband, Jean Dominique, owned Radio Haiti-Inter, where he was gunned down on April 3, 2000. Montas, who was his co-anchor on the daily newscast, has run the station since his death.

The motive behind the Wednesday attack was unclear, but Montas has vehemently criticized attacks on the media in Haiti and the slowness of the investigation into her husband's killing. No one has been charged.

EUROPE

Serbian to Face

War Crimes Charges

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Serbia's president will face war crimes charges before a U.N. court, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic said.

Unless Milan Milutinovic surrenders voluntarily, he will be handed over to the U.N. war crimes tribunal when his term expires Jan. 5, Djindjic said. He urged Milutinovic to "establish contact" with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague and turn himself in.

"The Hague [tribunal] cannot be avoided," Djindjic said at a news conference. "The only question is whether it will be the hard way or voluntarily."

Milutinovic has been president of Serbia, Yugoslavia's dominant republic, since 1997. He and former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic were indicted for war crimes committed by Serbian security forces in Kosovo in 1998-99. Milosevic is on trial at the court.

Associated Press

Suspected Militants

Arrested Near Paris

PARIS -- French counter-terrorism agents have arrested four suspected Islamic militants who were allegedly plotting attacks in France, judicial officials said.

The agents found electronic components and a mysterious substance hidden in hair treatment bottles when they arrested the suspects at home on Tuesday in Romainville, a suburb north of Paris, the officials said on condition of anonymity. The substance was being analyzed by government experts.

Authorities said they believe the suspects are linked to a group that was apprehended last week in the nearby suburb of La Courneuve with possible bombmaking materials.

France has been on high alert for possible terrorist strikes during the holiday season, and the government has increased police presence in public areas such as department stores and train stations.

The raid in La Courneuve turned up a suit to protect against nuclear, chemical and biological attacks, a video camera, two empty gas canisters and false identity papers.

Associated Press

Ukraine Convicts

Nationalist Protesters

KIEV, Ukraine -- A Ukrainian court has convicted 18 Ukrainian nationalists of staging riots during last year's anti-government protest, a news agency reported.

The Holoseyevo district court in Kiev sentenced the convicts late Wednesday to prison terms of two to five years, the Interfax news agency reported. Four of the 18 received suspended sentences.

The convicts belong to the UNA-UNSO, a leading nationalist group that has played a part in protests against the government of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

They were accused of staging clashes with police during a protest outside Kuchma's office in March 2001.

Associated Press