Mine Officials Released

From Jail in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Five jailed officials of a unit of U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp. accused of dumping toxic waste in Indonesia were freed on Saturday after being held since late September.

The subsidiary, Newmont Minahasa Raya, is under investigation for alleged dumping of toxic waste that local residents say has made them sick.

"The status of five detainees will be changed to city detention under the supervision of the North Sulawesi police," said Brig. Gen. Suharto, director of the National Police special crime unit.

The officials -- an Australian, an American and three Indonesians -- will be restricted to areas where they live and will have to report to police regularly as prosecutors in North Sulawesi consider whether to charge them.

The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta has said jailing the men for questioning was inappropriate because they and the company were cooperating in the investigation.

The company has strongly denied accusations it dumped toxic waste in North Sulawesi province.

A recent government study found no evidence of serious pollution.

AFRICA

* TUNIS -- President Zine Abidine Ben Ali was expected to win a fourth term in Tunisia's election despite an opposition party's boycott and charges of fraud. About 4.6 million people were eligible to vote in the country of 10 million, where Ben Ali has ruled since taking power in a bloodless coup in 1987.

The moderate Muslim nation is considered a stalwart ally of the West. But the Tunisian League of Human Rights criticized new sanctions targeting terrorism and money laundering for curbing freedom of expression and association.

* ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- The European Union and its member states will contribute more than $100 million to an African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan's troubled Darfur region, said the E.U. foreign policy chief, Javier Solana.

The announcement came three days after the African Union agreed to send more than 3,000 additional troops to Darfur to help restore security. Three U.S. Air Force cargo planes and 120 U.S. troops landed in Rwanda on Saturday to carry Rwandan soldiers and equipment to Darfur as part of the AU mission.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* ANKARA, Turkey -- Two soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit a land mine in southeastern Turkey, and a small oil pipeline was damaged by a bomb in attacks blamed on Kurdish rebels, the Anatolia news agency reported. In a separate attack, a bomb exploded at a McDonald's restaurant in the city of Trabzon on the Black Sea coast, wounding six people. There was no assertion of responsibility.

* GAZA CITY -- At least two missiles fired from a pilotless Israeli aircraft killed one Palestinian policeman and wounded six others in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, medics said. The attacks came as more than two dozen Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers took up positions in the area.

Israeli forces killed four Palestinians in air strikes late on Sunday and early Monday during a raid on a militant stronghold in southern Gaza, medics and witnesses said.

In Jerusalem, Israel's cabinet approved a compensation program for settlers who would be uprooted by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank.

EUROPE

* MADRID -- Spain's prisons are breeding grounds for Islamic militants, a judge warned after filing terrorism charges against 17 people who allegedly plotted to ram a truck packed with explosives into the National Court.

Judge Baltasar Garzon said a group calling itself Martyrs for Morocco organized the plot. It was founded by Mohamed Achraf while he served time in a Spanish prison for credit card fraud from 1999 to 2002, the judge said.

THE AMERICAS

* RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazil has successfully launched its two-stage VSB-30 test rocket, 14 months after a more powerful one exploded before liftoff, killing 21 people, Brazilian space officials said. The prototype flew for seven minutes at an altitude of about 62 miles.

ASIA

* ARKALYK, Kazakhstan -- A Russian-U.S. crew returned to Earth after a six-month stay at the international space station in a precision landing on the Kazakhstan steppe.

* TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Strong winds and heavy rains lashed eastern Taiwan as Typhoon Nock-ten began battering the island. One fisherman was missing, police said. Forecasters expected the full force of the storm to hit the island early Monday.

-- From News Services