New Sri Lankan Leader To Renew Peace Talks

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- President Mahinda Rajapakse was sworn in Saturday and promised to renew peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, but he reiterated his opposition to their demand for an independent state on the Indian Ocean island.

He has also pledged not to allow direct foreign tsunami aid to the insurgents, who have demanded access to some of the $2 billion promised to Sri Lanka so they can run relief efforts in rebel-controlled areas. The Dec. 26 tsunami killed at least 31,000 people in Sri Lanka.


* TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- A 16-year-old accused of killing a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent has escaped from a juvenile prison for the fifth time in three years, an official said. Herlan Colindres, a street gang member implicated in 16 other killings, slipped out of the crumbling juvenile rehabilitation center in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa on Friday, said Napoleon Nazar, national police director of criminal investigations.

Colindres and his 13-year-old bodyguard were arrested in July in the killing of Michael Timothy Markey, a DEA agent who was shot to death July 29 while visiting a temple outside Tegucigalpa dedicated to Honduras's patron saint.

* CHIHUAHUA, Mexico -- Unidentified attackers killed two police officers in Ciudad Juarez, a city on the U.S. border, in a resurgence of drug-related violence this week, authorities said.

Men armed with assault rifles gunned down Jorge Luis Carrillo, a municipal police officer, on Friday. Later in the day police found the body of a second policeman, Oscar Lucero, in an abandoned car. He had been suffocated with a plastic bag and his body showed signs of torture, Chihuahua state prosecutors said.


* JAKARTA, Indonesia -- An earthquake with a magnitude of at least 6.2 struck off the coast of Sumatra on Saturday, triggering a tsunami alert and prompting residents to flee their homes, officials said. There were no immediate reports of a tsunami, damages or casualties.


* NIAMEY, Niger -- West African leaders recognized Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as Liberia's president-elect, even as election officials probed allegations from her rival, former soccer star George Weah, of vote-rigging.

Weah's legal team appeared at the first day of hearings at the National Elections Commission Wednesday without ballot papers they have said were doctored or witnesses to support their case, forcing a postponement of the probe.

-- From News Services