More Bird Flu Cases

Confirmed in Russia

MOSCOW -- Russia confirmed more cases of bird flu on Monday, raising fears that the disease could spread across Europe.

The latest case in Russia killed 12 hens last week at a private dacha in Tambov, 250 miles southeast of Moscow. Authorities culled 53 ducks and hens and imposed a quarantine. Tests confirmed that the hens had the H5N1 avian flu strain that has recently spread across Asia, officials said.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's Health Ministry said on Tuesday that testing had confirmed that a man who died in September was positive for bird flu, raising the number of deaths from the virus in the country to four. The latest confirmed death was of a 23-year-old man from a town near Jakarta.

China reported a fresh outbreak of bird flu in the eastern province of Anhui, a senior U.N. official said. Noureddin Mona, of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, said China's Agriculture Ministry had told him 2,100 birds had been infected, 550 had died and 45,000 had been culled.


* KATMANDU, Nepal -- Rescue workers said there was no hope of finding seven French and 11 Nepalese climbers missing after an avalanche last week in western Nepal.

Authorities in Katmandu lost contact with the 21-member climbing team Wednesday after an avalanche swept its base camp on the 22,903-foot Kang Guru peak. Three Nepalese climbers were rescued Sunday, but the rest were still missing.

* TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- An Uzbek opposition leader who pushed for an easing of the country's autocratic rule was arrested on embezzlement charges, the Interior Ministry said.

Sanjar Umarov, chairman of the Sunshine Coalition, was arrested for "the theft of millions and embezzlement," the ministry said. Umarov, a wealthy businessman-turned-politician, had called on the Uzbek government last week to start a political dialogue and sent an open letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was visiting Uzbekistan at the time.

* BEIJING -- An explosion at a coal mine in southern China killed 15 miners and injured three, the official New China News Agency said. The explosion occurred Sunday at the Zhongxing Colliery in Guizhou province's Qinglong County.


* ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Local officials along Eritrea's side of its disputed border with Ethiopia have imposed more restrictions on U.N. peacekeepers, who complain that their ability to patrol the buffer zone is already seriously hampered, a U.N. spokeswoman said.

The local officials gave no explanation, and Eritrea's central government told the U.N. mission it was not behind the warning, the spokeswoman said.


* WARSAW -- President-elect Lech Kaczynski promised to visit the United States early in his term, calling Washington an important ally but shedding no further light on whether Poland would extend its troop deployment in Iraq past the planned withdrawal next year.

Kaczynski won a presidential runoff on Sunday.

-- From News Services