Palestinian Justice Minister Resigns

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- The Palestinian justice minister announced his resignation Saturday to protest Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's refusal to share power, adding to growing turmoil in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israel's public security minister, meanwhile, reiterated warnings that Jewish extremists may try to attack a Jerusalem shrine sacred to Muslims and Jews, and said suspected extremists should be detained without trial. Islamic leaders, addressing a rally of 30,000 at the holy site, accused the Israeli government of not doing enough to thwart a possible attack.

The Palestinian justice minister, Nahed Arreyes, said he had been stripped of much of his authority over the legal system. Last year, Arafat created a rival agency to the Justice Ministry, and he continues to control the judiciary.

The resignation underscored the growing crisis in the Palestinian Authority.

ASIA

* DHAKA, Bangladesh -- A bomb exploded in the parking lot of a hotel in northeastern Bangladesh where the opposition-backed mayor was holding a meeting, wounding at least 50 people, witnesses and doctors said.

The attack happened outside the Hotel Gulshan in Sylhet , 120 miles northeast of the capital, Dhaka, Mayor Badaruddin Kamran said.

* NEW DELHI -- A flood-swollen river was overflowing a major Indian dam and threatening villages as 41 more deaths were reported across South Asia, raising the death toll from rain-related destruction this season to 1,972.

Twenty-nine people died during the past 24 hours in the Bharuch district in India's western Gujarat state, local police officials said.

AFRICA

* BLANTYRE, Malawi -- At least 27 people were killed on Friday night when two trucks collided in central Malawi, police said.

Police spokesman Kelvin Maigwa said 13 people were injured, four of them seriously. Traffic accidents are common on Malawi's narrow roads, most of which are in an extreme state of disrepair following decades of neglect.

EUROPE

* WARSAW -- Poland's premier headed to the United States for talks with President Bush, saying he plans to explore ways to reorganize the Polish-led multinational force in Iraq in the wake of troop withdrawals by Spain and other countries.

Prime Minister Marek Belka, who served as the director for economic policy for the U.S.-led provisional authority in Iraq until March, said he plans to talk with Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and others about the prospects of transferring more military duties to Iraqis in the Polish-led zone.

* STONELEIGH, England -- Nigel Roder beat six rivals by public acclaim to become England's first official jester in more than 350 years, succeeding Muckle John who lost his job when King Charles I was beheaded in 1649.

THE AMERICAS

* BOGOTA, Colombia -- Marxist rebels killed five Colombian soldiers and wounded two others in a battle in an oil-rich eastern province as security forces braced for attacks to mark President Alvaro Uribe's second anniversary in office, the army said.

The battle with members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by the Spanish acronym FARC, took place near the notoriously violent town of Saravena.

-- From News Services