U.S. Envoy Vows to Keep

Talking With N. Koreans

BEIJING -- U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the chief U.S. envoy to talks on North Korea's nuclear program, said Saturday delegates would start work on a joint statement of principles taking the negotiations into a "new stage," but an agreement this weekend was unlikely.

Work on a statement of "agreed principles" came as six-nation talks stretched into an unprecedented fifth day and after U.S. and North Korean diplomats held four sets of one-on-one meetings this week.

Delegates from all countries at the negotiations -- China, Japan, Russia, the two Koreas and the United States -- met Saturday morning for 20 minutes, a South Korean official said on condition of anonymity, due to the delicacy of the talks.


* BERLIN -- The U.S. Army will pull out of 13 bases in southern Germany as part of a repositioning of American forces around the world, its European headquarters said.

Eleven bases in and around the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg will be handed over to the German government by September 2007, a statement from the Army's European headquarters in Heidelberg said. Two more bases near Wuerzburg will be closed and handed over in subsequent years.

The closures are part of plans to return the headquarters of the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division to the United States next year and relocate other units.

* TIMISOARA, Romania -- More than 400 Uzbek refugees arrived in Romania, where they will be temporarily sheltered after fleeing violence during a brutal government crackdown in their Central Asian homeland.

* ROME -- Italy's Senate overwhelmingly approved tougher anti-terror measures a day after the interior minister warned that the threat of terrorism had forced the nation into a state of alarm.

The package, which still must be voted on by Parliament's lower chamber, includes measures allowing authorities to hold terror suspects longer without charges and to retain telephone records.

It also makes it a crime to recruit and train people for terrorist activities.


* MEXICO CITY -- Mexico City's popular mayor stepped down to run for president with a promise to overhaul government policies in favor of the poor.

In a farewell speech, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador spoke of his achievements in the chaotic capital city and said he would take his policies of social welfare and public works spending to the national stage.

An austere former Indian rights activist, Lopez Obrador is Mexico's most popular politician and holds a wide lead over his rivals in polls for the presidential elections next July.

* NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico -- The United States will close its consulate for one week to assess the security of its employees and consulate visitors in this Mexican border town after a shootout between drug gangs using machine guns, grenades and a rocket launcher.

* VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Police raided the headquarters of the British Columbia Marijuana Party at the request of U.S. investigators targeting one of Canada's best-known advocates of legalizing marijuana.

U.S. officials have charged Marc Emery, founder of the Marijuana Party, and two others with conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and distribute marijuana seeds and money laundering. The charges are linked with a business that Emery has operated for years over the Internet from offices in Vancouver, on Canada's Pacific Coast.


* MADAROUFA, Niger -- An aircraft carrying 48.5 tons of high-energy biscuits and generators left Italy for Niger, the U.N.'s Rome-based World Food Program said. The Ilyushin 76 aircraft will return to Italy on Saturday to be loaded with 28.5 more tons of the food. The total of 77 tons of biscuits can feed at least 80,000 people.

From Niger's capital, a convoy of trucks will carry the biscuits along a 410-mile desert road to Maradi, the location of the intensive care unit of Doctors Without Borders.


* CAIRO -- Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour applied to stand against President Hosni Mubarak in presidential elections, arriving early in the hope of having his name at the top of the ballot papers.

But state media said Mubarak submitted his nomination papers to the electoral commission first, ahead of Nour, the candidate of the liberal opposition Tomorrow Party, sparking a controversy that soured the start of the election campaign.

The dispute over the application matters because the first person to submit his candidacy can use the coveted "crescent" symbol.

The symbol has positive connotations for Muslim voters and could be an advantage in Egypt's first presidential election with more than one candidate, though analysts say Mubarak is certain to win.


* BOMBAY -- Rescuers scouring flood-ravaged neighborhoods and outlying villages found dozens more bodies, pushing the death toll from record monsoon rains in western India to almost 750, officials said.

-- From News Services

Matador Juan Jose Padilla performs Friday during the Santiago bullfighting fair in the northern Spanish town of Santander. The town celebrates Santiago, its patron saint, every year with a fair that includes theater and street performances, musical concerts and a week of bullfights.