Opposition Socialists

Win Bulgarian Vote

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Bulgaria's opposition Socialists unseated the governing party in parliamentary elections but fell short of winning an outright majority, according to nearly complete results released Sunday.

With 99.61 percent of votes counted, the Socialists had 31 percent, while the party of Prime Minister Simeon Saxcoburggotski had 19.88 percent, the Central Electoral Commission said. Final results were expected Monday.

Socialist leader Sergei Stanishev claimed victory and said he would seek to form a governing coalition.

The prospects for a strong coalition government looked dim after no party won outright, and it was unclear who will lead the country into the European Union in 2007 as scheduled. Saxcoburggotski refused to concede defeat and suggested his National Movement might be able to strike a deal.


* KABUL, Afghanistan -- A senior Taliban commander dismissed as false Afghan government reports that 178 guerrillas were killed in a U.S.-backed offensive in southwestern Afghanistan last week.

Mullah Dadullah, one of two top Taliban commanders the government said had been surrounded in the fighting, telephoned Reuters to say that only seven or eight guerrillas had been killed, including one commander, Mohammad Easa.

Also, over the weekend, a truckload of munitions exploded in northern Afghanistan, killing five Afghan civilians and two German soldiers from the NATO-led peacekeeping force, officials said Sunday.

* SEOUL -- South Korea will provide North Korea with 150,000 tons of fertilizer, the government said. The impoverished North continues to struggle with food shortages following poor harvests.

* LAHORE, Pakistan -- Sweltering heat has left more than 100 people dead in Pakistan, where temperatures reached 122 degrees.


* CAIRO -- Scuffles broke out between protesters and Egyptian riot police when about 100 people staged a demonstration against President Hosni Mubarak and accused security forces of torture, witnesses said.

* ISTANBUL -- Turkey's prime minister said the country would not agree to any new conditions for European Union membership.


* NAIROBI -- Torture is still meted out with impunity in Kenya, particularly by police, said two studies released to mark the U.N. International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The security forces of Former president Daniel arap Moi were notorious for torture in the latter years of his 24-year-long rule, which ended in 2002.

President Mwai Kibaki came to power vowing to respect human rights, but the reports showed that torture continued under his administration.

Presenting its findings in a former government torture chamber in central Nairobi, the Nairobi-based anti-torture advocacy group Independent Medico-Legal Unit said that of 208 cases of alleged torture it investigated during 2004, 69 percent involved police officers.

* NAIROBI -- The number of people killed after drinking an illegal brew laced with industrial alcohol has risen to 49, police said.

-- From News Services