NATO Fails to Agree

On Iraq Training Mission

BRUSSELS -- NATO failed on Wednesday to overcome differences on a promised training mission for Iraqi forces, with France resisting U.S. pressure for a major alliance role in the country.

Two lengthy closed-door debates ended with no agreement. But NATO officials said ambassadors would reconvene Thursday with the supreme allied commander in Europe, U.S. Marine Gen. James L. Jones.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was pushing the alliance's 26 member nations to reach a decision this week on how to carry out the training missions agreed to by leaders at their summit a month ago.

French officials fear that sending a lot of NATO forces could be a first step to military engagement and undermine the new Iraqi government.

French President Jacques Chirac has suggested the training be conducted outside Iraq or by individual nations without flying the NATO flag.

The Bush administration, eager to demonstrate growing international backing for its Iraq policy, would prefer a major mission in Iraq under NATO command.

THE AMERICAS

* MEXICO CITY -- Street battles between supporters of opposing political parties left one person dead in the southern state of Oaxaca.

The Reforma newspaper showed pictures of a 64-year-old man being beaten to death by two men with sticks in the town of Huautla on Tuesday. At least seven people were injured, the state government said.

The government said the clashes erupted after hundreds of protesters, some armed with machetes, tried to keep people from attending a rally for a gubernatorial candidate. The election is Sunday.

Polls show a dead heat between the main opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and a candidate backed by an alliance of President Vicente Fox's National Action Party and the Democratic Revolutionary Party.

* GUATEMALA CITY -- Police arrested former vice president Francisco Reyes Lopez in a hospital after he failed to make a court appearance to answer corruption charges.

Reyes is the most senior official from the administration of former president Alfonso Portillo to be arrested since the current president, Oscar Berger, took office in January promising to clean up politics.

Prosecutors say Reyes tried to take ownership of land worth $2.8 million through a fraudulent loan scheme.

"They are trying to degrade me by issuing an arrest order that they know has no legal basis," Reyes told reporters as he was taken away.

Residents set off fireworks and cheered as he was hustled into a car by police armed with automatic weapons.

Portillo, who is now believed to live in Mexico, is under investigation in Guatemala and the United States for alleged participation in the theft and laundering of tens of millions of dollars.

* BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombian paramilitary leaders, saying they wanted peace, made an unprecedented appearance before the country's Congress that leftist legislators said lent respectability to men wanted for massacres and drug-running.

The three leaders of the outlawed United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia told a congressional hearing that they should not serve jail time as part of any peace deal.

President Alvaro Uribe's government has sent a bill to Congress that would send paramilitary chiefs to jail for five to 10 years as part of a plan to disarm 20,000 fighters.

The government allowed the three leaders to leave the rural area where they are holding peace talks for 48 hours without fear of arrest.

EUROPE

* HANAU, Germany -- A U.S. Army captain charged with murdering a man during a pursuit of suspected Iraqi militants appeared before a military hearing and said he was confident of clearing his name.

Capt. Rogelio M. Maynulet is being investigated following an incident in Iraq at the end of May involving a car chase with suspected militiamen of radical Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr.

"During the pursuit soldiers fired at the vehicle, wounding the driver and passenger and shortly afterwards the driver was shot and killed at close range," the Army said in a statement.

The hearing is being held to determine whether to bring the case to a full court-martial.

AFRICA

* KAMPALA, Uganda -- Ugandan troops killed more than 30 Lord's Resistance Army rebels in an attack in southern Sudan that may also have killed the leader of the cultlike group, the army said.

An army spokesman said it was not yet clear whether self-proclaimed mystic and rebel chief Joseph Kony was among the dead after the afternoon raid east of Juba.

Troops seized a walkie-talkie handset and a radio transmitter that the spokesman said a captured rebel identified as belonging to Kony.

About 1.6 million Ugandans have fled clashes between the army and the rebels, who have attacked in northern Uganda from bases across the border in southern Sudan.

* KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Sudan has accused rebels in the western Darfur region of killing 1,460 civilians since signing a cease-fire with the government in early April and of slowing delivery of aid to the region.

But one of two main Darfur rebel groups, which accuse the government of using Arab militias to crush them and attack civilians, said it had not launched any military operations since signing the cease-fire.

The United Nations says 1 million people have been uprooted in Darfur and 30,000 killed since the rebels took up arms in early 2003. More than 2 million need food and medicine, it says.

"The violations perpetrated by the rebels are delaying the humanitarian aid operations and the operations intending to establish security and the return of the displaced to their villages," Information Minister Zahawi Ibrahim Malik said in a statement late Tuesday.

His statement was the first time the government had issued a figure for the number of civilians killed.

-- From News Services