Large Weapons Cache

Seized in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Thousands of rockets and much heavy ammunition have been seized in central Afghanistan, the largest cache of insurgent weapons discovered in months, a government spokesman said Sunday.

The arms were to be used to subvert crucial legislative elections on Sept. 18, said Gen. Mohammed Zahir Azimi, a Defense Ministry spokesman.

The raid in the Khogyani district of Ghazni province on Saturday netted about 2,000 surface-to-surface rockets, 3,000 mortar rounds, 500 artillery shells and 100 boxes of antiaircraft bullets, he said.


* HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe will not invite back white farmers whose land was seized by President Robert Mugabe's government despite calls by the central bank chief to allow them to help the struggling agriculture sector, state media reported.

"The land here is for the black people and we are not going to give it back to anybody. We are not inviting any white farmers back," Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, also in charge of the lands, land reform and resettlement program, told the state-owned Sunday Mail.

The governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, recently urged Mugabe's government to allow some white farmers back onto the seized farms to help revive an economy near collapse.


* MUDJIMBA BEACH, Australia -- A decommissioned U.S.-built Australian naval destroyer was scuttled with explosives, then sank slowly to the bottom of Pacific Ocean to become the newest diving attraction in Australia's Queensland state.

* BEIJING -- Delegates to the North Korean nuclear talks were to make fresh efforts on Monday to agree on a joint statement after weekend discussions left tempers frayed and the six parties no closer to a resolution.

The talks in Beijing have been marked by unprecedented contact between Washington and Pyongyang, the main protagonists in a crisis now nearly three years old, creating a more positive atmosphere than at three previous, inconclusive rounds.


* CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy -- Pope Benedict XVI hailed the Irish Republican Army's decision to disarm as "beautiful news" and urged all to work for a lasting peace after decades of bloodshed in Northern Ireland.

Benedict, addressing pilgrims at his summer palace outside Rome, expressed "satisfaction and hope" after the IRA met international demands to declare its 1997 cease-fire permanent and to renounce violence against British rule in Northern Ireland.

* LONDON -- Osama bin Laden is still giving direct orders for al Qaeda attacks, Saudi Arabia's next ambassador to the United States said. The outgoing Saudi ambassador to Britain, Prince Turki al-Faisal, said some of the most recent attacks attributed to al Qaeda in the oil-rich kingdom had been directly ordered by the organizer of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

* LONDON -- The withdrawal of U.S.-led troops from Iraq and Afghanistan would do nothing to end attacks such as the London bombings, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in an article published Monday.

Writing in Britain's Financial Times newspaper, Rumsfeld said "extremists" had been killing people in attacks around the world for at least 20 years before the arrival of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The extremists do not seek a negotiated settlement with the west," he wrote. "They want America and Britain and other coalition allies to surrender our principles."


* ACAPULCO, Mexico -- A former soldier killed his wife, infant nephew and a police officer in a vicious rampage that left 10 people dead before being wounded by police and killed by an angry crowd in southern Mexico, authorities said.

Oscar Flores, 35, killed his wife and nephew with a knife on Sunday morning before commandeering an assault rifle from a police officer for a shooting spree on the streets of San Jeronimo de Juarez, about 185 miles southwest of Mexico City.

* CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez criticized a trade pact that eliminates barriers between the United States and Central American countries, calling it a misguided deal that will harm the region's small economies.

The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved the agreement Thursday in a 217 to 215 vote, four weeks after the Senate backed the measure.

The trade deal eliminates barriers between the United States and Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.


* DAMASCUS, Syria -- Syria and Lebanon agreed to set their relations back on track, months after Damascus withdrew its forces from its tiny neighbor after furious anti-Syrian protests.

Leading Lebanon's first government since Syria ended its 29-year military presence in April, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora met with Syrian President Bashar Assad to patch up ties a day after winning a confidence vote in parliament.

* CAIRO -- The arrest and beatings of protesters rallying against President Hosni Mubarak indicates the government will take a tough line as the country heads into its first multi-candidate presidential elections, analysts said.

-- From News Services

Monsoon Rains Pound India

People wade through a flooded street during heavy rains in Bombay, where police urged millions of residents to stay inside. Relief officials said more than 900 people have been reported dead from flooding and landslides.