U.S. Forces Kill Two

Taliban Fighters in Raid

KABUL, Afghanistan -- U.S. forces raided a suspected Taliban hideout in southeastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing two fighters and capturing at least one, officials said.

The hour-long battle occurred in Dewalak, a village in Zabol province along the Pakistani border, said Khial Mohammed, the provincial governor. U.S. troops attacked after surrounding the village and coming under fire from the rebels, he said.

The governor said U.S. forces were tipped off about the presence of Taliban fighters in mountains near the village, about 10 miles west of Qalat, Zabol's capital.

When the fighting died down, Mohammed said two Taliban suspects had been killed and two detained.

Lt. Col. Susan Meisner, a U.S. military spokeswoman, confirmed the deaths but said only one militant was captured.

The detainee was being treated for wounds at the U.S. military base in the southern city of Kandahar, she said.

Zabol lies in the area along the Pakistani border where Taliban-led militants have clashed repeatedly with U.S. and allied forces. Officials are forecasting a surge in violence in the run-up to the Oct. 9 presidential elections.

ASIA

* TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan has arrested two men on suspicion of supplying arch rival China with secrets about Taiwan's Mirage 2000-5 jet fighters, the state-run Central News Agency reported.

A Taiwanese businessman working in China was accused of offering a retired Taiwanese air force sergeant an unspecified sum of money for information on the French-made fighters, the agency quoted the Justice Ministry Investigation Bureau as saying.

EUROPE

* BERLIN -- German voters handed Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder a stinging defeat in elections in the small western state of Saarland, reflecting public anger over his drive to cut into the country's cherished network of social programs.

Schroeder's Social Democrats slumped to about 30 percent of the vote for the state legislature from 44.4 percent in the last election in 1999, according to projections by both German public television channels based on exit polls.

The Christian Democrats, in power in the state for the last five years, improved to 48.5 percent from 45.5 percent in the last election and retained control of the statehouse, the projections said.

* VENICE -- Gondoliers raced rowboats down Venice's canals in their annual regatta, but a row over speeding motorboats threatened to overshadow one of the city's most treasured traditions.

The normally celebratory day began with an angry demonstration. Hundreds of gondoliers gathered in the waters in front of the city's central square, the Piazza San Marco, to demand tighter regulation of speeding boats they say are a danger to them and their passengers.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* ISTANBUL -- Police used pepper gas and batons against up to 1,000 Turkish ultranationalists who were protesting against Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Istanbul-based spiritual head of the world's Orthodox Christians.

The demonstrators, chanting slogans and waving nationalist banners, hung an effigy of the patriarch on a tree and set it on fire.

THE AMERICAS

* JALAPA, Mexico -- Mexicans voted in a close governor's election as the main opposition party fought to hold on to one of its oldest electoral bastions ahead of the 2006 presidential elections.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which lost the presidential elections for the first time in seven decades in 2000, must keep control of oil-rich Veracruz state on the Gulf Coast if it is to consolidate support in rural Mexico and have a good chance at the presidency in two years.

-- From News Services