ASIA

India Shifts Nuclear Command

NEW DELHI -- India, which last year came close to war with nuclear-armed neighbor Pakistan, said yesterday that it had set up a nuclear weapons command system headed by the prime minister.

India will continue its policy of "no first use" of nuclear arms, but "nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage," the government said in a statement.

It also said India would "retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons" in the event of a major biological or chemical weapons attack against India or Indian forces anywhere.

Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India, two over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir, has not ruled out the first use of nuclear weapons, saying it would launch a nuclear strike if it felt its territorial integrity was threatened.

Reuters

AFRICA

35,000 Flee Fighting in Congo

NAIROBI -- Clashes in northeastern Congo have forced 35,000 people to flee their homes in the past week, adding to a growing tide of residents uprooted by fighting between rebel factions, an aid agency said.

Doctors Without Borders said it feared the violence brought the total number of people displaced by fighting in the area in recent months to an estimated 155,000.

The exodus -- one of the biggest mass movements in Congo in years -- left the refugees prey to rising levels of hunger and disease as well as atrocities committed by fighters, it added.

From News Services

Tariffs Eased for Congo, Gambia

President Bush added Gambia and Congo to a list of 36 sub-Saharan African nations eligible for reduced tariffs on apparel and other imported goods.

The additions expand on legislation, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 2000, that broadened U.S. trade and investment with impoverished African and Caribbean nations. The list is updated annually.

This year's list "signifies which countries are making continued progress toward a market-based economy, the rule of law, free trade, economic policies that will reduce poverty, and protection of workers' rights," White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said in a statement.

The law eliminated duties on African and Caribbean apparel imports made with U.S. fabric. It capped apparel imports that are made with African and Caribbean fabric, while loosening restrictions on the poorest African countries.

Bloomberg News

FOR THE RECORD

Three ethnic Albanian men, including a former rebel commander, were shot dead in Kosovo in what appeared to be the latest round of a feud between rival wings of the disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army. . . . Iran has begun training its first female police officers since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the official IRNA news agency reported.