2 Blasts Kill at Least 36

At Gathering in Pakistan

MULTAN, Pakistan -- Two bombs exploded at a gathering of Islamic radicals in central Pakistan before dawn Thursday, killing at least 36 people and injuring about 100, police said.

Police immediately suspected a sectarian attack. On Friday, a suicide attack killed 31 at a Shiite mosque in an eastern city.

Thursday's blasts came as about 3,000 people in Multan were marking the first anniversary of the death of Azam Tariq, head of the outlawed Sipah-i-Sahaba group, who was killed in an attack blamed on Shiite Muslim militants. His group has been accused of killing hundreds of minority Shiite Muslims in recent years.

A car bomb exploded near the site in a residential neighborhood, and within minutes a second bomb attached to a motorcycle went off, a police official said.


* PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- King Norodom Sihanouk abdicated Thursday because of poor health and asked the people of Cambodia to begin a search for a successor, the head of the National Assembly said.

The king, 81, made the announcement in a letter from Beijing, where he has been undergoing medical treatment. The note was read to the National Assembly by his son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who is also head of the assembly.

Cambodia's monarch is not selected according to heredity, but must have a royal bloodline.

With the statement, Sihanouk included a Sept. 4 letter signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Ranariddh, who are partners in the current government, proposing Prince Norodom Sihamoni "to be the future king." Sihamoni, 51, is Sihanouk's son with Queen Monineath.


* VIENNA -- Brazil has tentatively agreed to let the U.N. atomic agency view parts of its equipment used to enrich uranium -- a deal that would end squabbling over access to technology that can be used to build nuclear weapons, diplomats said Wednesday.

The diplomats said the International Atomic Energy Agency was satisfied that the agreement would allow its inspectors to verify that uranium is neither enriched to weapons-grade levels nor diverted to other sites.

* CHERBOURG, France -- A heavily guarded convoy transporting U.S. weapons-grade plutonium left a plant in northern France on Thursday to be driven nearly 660 miles to a southeastern factory for recycling.

Environmental activists are worried about the safety of the shipment, which arrived in the port of Cherbourg on Wednesday after a more than two-week journey from Charleston, S.C. The program is part of a post-Cold War agreement between the United States and Russia to get rid of plutonium from excess nuclear warheads.

* PARIS -- Ten suspected radical Muslims said to be linked to al Qaeda went on trial accused of plotting a bomb attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg, in eastern France.

The prosecution alleges the plot was devised by aides to Osama bin Laden in 1999 in Afghanistan. Attorneys for the main suspects said their clients admit having undergone military training in Afghanistan but deny plotting any attack.

Four men arrested at the scene were convicted in March 2003 for their part in the conspiracy and given lengthy prison terms.

* THE HAGUE -- Naser Oric, the Bosnian Muslim wartime commander who led the doomed 1995 defense of Srebrenica, went on trial charged with war crimes. He led forces who beat and killed Serb prisoners and burned Bosnian Serb villages, prosecutors said.

Oric, 37, is one of at least half a dozen Bosnian Muslims to have been indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal. His arrest in 2003 marked a milestone for the court, which has faced accusations by Serbs that it is biased against them.

* LONDON -- A sailor injured Tuesday in a fire that disabled a Canadian submarine, obtained recently from Britain, died while being airlifted to a British hospital. The diesel-powered HMCS Chicoutimi drifted in the Atlantic as British ships battled rough weather to reach the remaining 54 crew members on board.


* OTTAWA -- Canadian government lawyers opened a landmark case before the Supreme Court, arguing that same-sex marriage should be supported as a matter of justice.

Twenty-eight presentations are scheduled to be heard over three days. A ruling is expected next year.


* BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau -- Mutinous soldiers demanding pay for peacekeeping duty abroad killed the head of Guinea-Bissau's armed forces and seized key buildings in the capital of the former Portuguese colony.

A Portuguese Foreign Ministry spokesman said the mutineers had killed Gen. Verissimo Seabra Correia, the man who ousted Kumba Yalla as president in a coup last year. He gave no further details.

Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior appealed for calm and sent a delegation to negotiate with the mutiny's leaders.

* HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Police freed without charge three press photographers detained Tuesday while covering a demonstration in Harare at which more than 50 female protesters were also arrested.

-- From News Services