Ingush Leader Survives Assassination Attempt

MOSCOW -- The prime minister of the Russian republic of Ingushetia survived an assassination attempt Thursday afternoon when two bombs were detonated as his car passed a market in Nazran, the regional capital, Russian officials said.

Ibragim Malsagov, the second-ranking official in the republic, had shell fragments in his right wrist and lower leg, the Russian news agency Interfax reported. A hospital official told the agency that Malsagov, 43, was conscious and that his injuries were not life-threatening. One of the prime minister's bodyguards was killed by the blasts, which came 10 seconds apart, officials said.

Ingushetia, a largely Muslim region bordering Chechnya, has witnessed a steady rise in violence and kidnappings over the past two years as the conflict between Chechen separatists and Russian forces spilled across the northern Caucasus. Almost daily attacks on politicians and policemen, along with retaliatory abductions of civilians, are destabilizing the patchwork of small Russian republics in and around Chechnya.

Last week, the police chief in Nazran was injured by a remote-controlled explosion that hit his car.

-- Peter Finn

AFRICA

* ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast -- Ivory Coast's rebels said they would not allow an October presidential election to be held in the northern region of the country, which they control, dealing a major blow to peace hopes.

The October vote is meant to help foster the reunification of the country, which has been divided since a civil war erupted in September 2002 after a failed coup against President Laurent Gbagbo.

* MAPUTO, Mozambique -- Regional health ministers unanimously agreed Thursday to declare tuberculosis an African emergency, underlining their commitment to fight the epidemic that is killing more than half a million people a year in Africa.

The decision was taken at the 55th session of the World Health Organization's Regional Committee for Africa. The number of new TB cases has quadrupled in 18 African countries since 1990 and continues to rise across the continent.

It can be cured with an inexpensive six-month course of treatment.

* ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Key aspects of Ethiopia's parliamentary elections failed to meet international standards, the European Union's chief observer said.

The May 15 voting included human rights abuses such as arrests of opposition members and intimidation of witnesses, the observer, Ana Gomes, said.

Violence followed the elections as protesters angered by allegations of fraud clashed with security forces.

EUROPE

* PARIS -- A fire raced through a Paris apartment building housing African immigrant families early Friday, killing at least 17 people, as many as half of them children, police said.

About 30 people were injured, two seriously. Most of the dead were from the west African nation of Mali, officials said.

The fire broke out shortly after midnight in the building's stairwell.

* BANJA LUKA, Bosnia -- A Bosnian Serb accused of raping and torturing dozens of women during the 1992-95 Bosnian war has been arrested in Russia, the Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA said Thursday.

Dragan Zelenovic, 44, was taken into custody by Russian police on Wednesday, SNRA said, without specifying where the arrest took place.

* BERLIN -- Germany's highest court ruled Thursday that federal elections can go ahead as planned on Sept. 18, dismissing complaints against the early vote from two lawmakers.

The Federal Constitutional Court's 7-to-1 decision removed the final obstacle to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's drive to hold elections a year ahead of schedule. Campaigning is already in full swing.

* UNITED NATIONS -- President Robert Mugabe's government has refused a $30 million U.N. emergency fundraising drive to provide food and medicine for those Zimbabweans hit hardest by the president's campaign to demolish urban slums, U.N. relief officials said.

U.N. aid agencies presented documents to the government about three weeks ago. The drive would have assisted more than 300,000 people, but according to southern African aid officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, no agreement was reached.

THe Middle East

* CAIRO -- Two senior Egyptian police officers were killed by land mines possibly rigged to explode during a search of the Sinai Peninsula's rugged mountains for terror suspects linked to recent tourist resort bombings, security officials said.

Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Adel and Lt. Col. Omar Abdel Moneim were the highest-ranking police officers killed in Egypt since an insurgency in the mid-1990s.

ASIA

* JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A measles outbreak on Indonesia's Sumba Island has killed five children and sickened 711 others, UNICEF said.

The U.N. children's agency, along with the World Health Organization and the government, had launched a vaccination campaign to contain the deadly virus.

The agency is also planning to vaccinate as many as 200,000 children ages 6 months to 15 years on the island, located about 620 miles southeast of the capital, Jakarta, said John Budd, a UNICEF spokesman.

-- From News Services