U.S. Genocide Charge

Political, Sudan Says

NAIROBI -- Sudan and Western powers plunged into a war of words over Darfur on Friday, with Khartoum countering U.S. charges of genocide by saying Washington was playing electoral politics with a humanitarian crisis.

Sudan's rulers said a finding by President Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell of genocide in Darfur was "an isolated position" made in the heat of a presidential election to win support from African Americans.

"They should not use a humanitarian problem for a political agenda," Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said during a visit to South Korea.

But while the global dialogue heated up, deadlocked peace talks between Khartoum and Darfur rebels in the Nigerian capital Abuja were suspended as they approached their third week.

The two sides called on African Union chairman and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to intervene to break the impasse.

AFRICA

* KINSHASA, Congo -- Government forces have launched a new offensive against rebels in Congo, seizing a town held by a renegade general, according to United Nations and army sources.

A dissident army officer, Brig. Gen. Laurent Nkunda, seized large swaths of eastern Congo near Rwanda after launching a rebellion in May. His forces captured the border town of Bukavu before withdrawing to a base 75 miles to the north.

* KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Sudanese police seized a large quantity of weapons and explosives Friday and detained one person during raids linked to an alleged coup attempt, a security authority statement said.

ASIA

* SEOUL -- The Japanese government is investigating the discovery in Libya of a precision instrument used in nuclear research and made in Japan, officials in Tokyo said Friday.

The probe was launched following the uncovering of the instrument -- used for taking three-dimensional measurements of machinery components -- by the International Atomic Energy Agency during its inspections in Libya between last December and March of 2004. The inspections followed Libya's landmark pledge to abandon the pursuit of nuclear weapons technology last year.

Japanese officials said they were cooperating with the IAEA to find out how the instrument had arrived in Libya, and whether it had been resold through a third country. The sale of the instrument may have violated several Japanese laws, including those regarding the export of sensitive nuclear technology.

-- Anthony Faiola

and Akiko Yamamoto

* CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- U.S. Army Sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins gave himself up at an American base in Japan on Saturday to face charges that he deserted to communist North Korea four decades ago while on patrol in South Korea.

THe MIDDLE EAST

* BEIRUT -- Three Lebanese nationals who worked for a food company in Baghdad were shot dead in one of the victims' homes and a fourth person was wounded, a Lebanese Foreign Ministry official said.

The circumstances surrounding the deaths were not immediately clear, but the home where the shootings took place had been robbed.

THE AMERICAS

* GUATEMALA CITY -- Prosecutors searched the Guatemalan Defense Ministry for secret files that may explain the fate of more than $100 million in public funds. The funds are at the center of a scandal over military purchases.

* MEXICO CITY -- The editor of a political magazine who was kidnapped in May apparently has been killed and his body burned -- the fourth journalist investigating corruption to be killed in Mexico this year.

Family members said Leodegario Aguilera Lucas, 60, editor of Political World, was investigating corruption in Guerrero state when he was abducted. Authorities said that three suspects confessed this week to kidnapping and shooting him and burning his body. Police said the three were his neighbors and killed him over a land dispute.

* BOGOTA, Colombia -- The government sent 14 Colombians to the United States in the first mass extradition of nationals accused of drug-related offenses, the police said.

EUROPE

* BLJECEVO, Bosnia -- Forensic experts said they had found the remains of scores of Muslims massacred at Srebrenica during Bosnia's ethnic war in a mass grave near the eastern town.

-- From News Services