Death Toll Rises to 128

In Pakistan Train Wreck

GHOTKI, Pakistan -- Officials raised the death toll to 128 in the crash of three passenger trains at a station in southern Pakistan early Wednesday. Of 170 injured, 12 were in critical condition. In all, a railway official said, almost 2,000 people were aboard the trains, many of them asleep at the time.

Officials said the driver of one of the trains had apparently missed a signal to stop, setting the disaster in motion. The Karachi Express, coming from the eastern city of Lahore, rammed into the rear of the Quetta Express, which had stopped at a station near Ghotki for repairs.

A third train, coming the other way from Karachi, then plowed into three derailed cars that had spilled across the track, police said.


* CAIRO -- Opposition movements from across Egypt's political spectrum joined calls for a boycott of September's presidential vote -- heralded by the government as a major step in democratic reform.

Egypt's often fractious opposition made a show of unity at a meeting launching the National Coalition for Democratic Transformation. The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and oldest Islamic group, stood with secular activists and leftists.


* HAVANA -- Cuban dissidents scuffled with supporters of President Fidel Castro as the demonstrators commemorated the deadly 1994 sinking of a tugboat packed with people trying to flee the country.

In a separate incident, central Havana residents took to the street to complain about power outages caused by Hurricane Dennis that left Cuban cities without electricity for hours, witnesses said.

* MEXICO CITY -- President Vicente Fox has been labeled a traitor by the Roman Catholic Church after his government put "morning-after" contraceptive pills in public clinics this week. A senior church official said Fox has ignored its concerns that the pill is tantamount to abortion, which is illegal in Mexico.

* LIMA, Peru -- Thousands of Peruvians protested against a proposed U.S.-trade pact that a U.N. investigator warned would put medicines out of reach for millions of poor people.


* MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree stripping the security services of control over a number of detention centers, satisfying a long-standing request by Europe's top human rights body.

The Kremlin said in a statement that all jails would come under the authority of the prison service, controlled by the Justice Ministry. They had been controlled by the Federal Security Service, the KGB's main post-Soviet successor.

* AMSTERDAM -- Dutch police have arrested a 17-year-old suspected of hiding homemade explosives in his parents' home, the prosecution service said. The teenager emerged as a suspect during an investigation into a group of Islamic radicals that had contacts with the man accused of killing filmmaker Theo van Gogh.


* KABUL, Afghanistan -- The Electoral Complaints Commission has barred just 17 people from September elections, despite more than 1,000 challenges, some of which accused candidates of rights abuses and links to armed groups.

Authorities said 2,778 candidates could run for parliament on Sept. 18 and 3,027 could stand in concurrent provincial council elections. The commission chairman said 11 of the candidates excluded had links to illegal armed groups.

* SRINAGAR, India -- A fierce gun battle was raging between Indian soldiers and a large group of heavily armed Muslim rebels near the Line of Control that divides turbulent Kashmir, an army spokesman said.


* NAIROBI -- Seventy-one people, including more than two dozen children, were shot or hacked to death in violence triggered by a murderous cattle rustling raid on a remote northern Kenyan village, police said.

-- From News Services

Pakistani soldiers and railway employees search for the dead near Ghotki.