ASIA

Cambodia, U.N. Agree

On Rules for Tribunal

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Cambodia's cabinet approved a draft agreement with the United Nations yesterday on guidelines for the prosecution of former Khmer Rouge leaders accused of crimes against humanity during their blood four-year reign.

After more than five years of talks, Cambodian and U.N. negotiators earlier this month agreed on guidelines for a tribunal with Cambodian and foreign prosecutors and judges.

The draft must be approved by the U.N. General Assembly and ratified by Cambodia's legislature.

An estimated 1.7 million people -- nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population -- died from starvation, disease, overwork and execution when the communist Khmer Rouge held power from 1975-79.

Associated Press

First Spy Satellites

Sent Up by Japan

Tanegashima, Japan -- Japan's first spy satellites were blasted into orbit, giving the government its own means of watching North Korea's long-range missile development and suspected nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has criticized the launching as a sign of Japan's re-militarization and warned it may test-fire a missile in response.

The two satellites, the first of at least four in the $2.05 billion spy program, blasted off into clear but windy skies atop a black-and-orange H2-A rocket, Japan's main launch vehicle.

"It was a nearly flawless launch," said Shuichiro Yamanouchi, head of Japan's National Space Development Agency.

Associated Press

Kyrgyz Launch Probe

Of Fatal Fire on Bus

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Police said armed robbers were behind the deaths of 21 people, most of them Chinese, who died on a bus in Kyrgyzstan in what initially looked like an accident.

Officials at first thought that the bus had caught fire after it overturned Thursday in a remote region about 200 miles southeast of the capital, Bishkek, killing those aboard in the ensuing blaze.

But officials said they found machine-gun cartridge cases at the scene and evidence of arson, and were mounting a full-scale criminal investigation.

Reuters

EUROPE

Violent Hate Crimes

Surge Across France

PARIS -- Violent hate crimes quadrupled in France in 2002 to the highest level in a decade, with more than half the assaults aimed at Jews, a national study has found.

Assailants carried out 313 acts of racially and religiously motivated violence last year, compared with 71 in 2001, according to the study by the independent National Consulting Committee on Human Rights.

In accepting the report Thursday, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said he was concerned that the war in Iraq would increase religious tensions in France.

"We must prevent international tensions from transferring to our national community," he said.

In the report, the committee said 193 of 313 attacks were against Jews in a "real explosion" of anti-Semitic violence. Last year, the group reported 32 acts of anti-Jewish violence.

The committee said increased anti-Semitic attacks came against a backdrop of fighting between Israel and the Palestinians.

Associated Press

THE AMERICAS

Mexican Soldiers Kill

3 Drug Gang Suspects

MEXICO CITY -- Two weeks after a bloody shootout to capture a drug lord wanted in the United States and Mexico, Mexican soldiers killed three of his henchmen in a gun battle, the Defense Ministry said.

The soldiers and federal agents were attacked by suspected assassins for Osiel Cardenas, the leader of the Gulf drug cartel, during a patrol between the northern cities of Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo, officials said in a statement.

"It was a violent attack," a spokesman said. "We are prepared for similar actions after the arrest of Cardenas."

Seven men were arrested after the shootout, the ministry said. Officials said they seized guns, grenades, marijuana and cocaine, and military equipment for chemical warfare.

Reuters