Remains Exhumed From

Mass Grave in Lebanon

BEIRUT -- Lebanese troops exhumed the remains of 25 bodies from a mass grave near a former Syrian military base in eastern Lebanon on Saturday, an official said. Another 12 bodies -- most believed to be Lebanese soldiers -- were recently removed from a grave near Beirut for DNA testing.

The identities of the bodies were not immediately known, but one security official said some appeared to be Lebanese soldiers killed in a Syrian military offensive in October 1990 that defeated Christian-commanded army units of Michel Aoun, then the interim Lebanese prime minister.

Residents of the eastern Bekaa Valley town of Anjar found the grave last week, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was unauthorized to speak to the news media. At least one of the bodies was dressed in a Lebanese soldier's uniform.

Syria vacated the site -- notorious for the arrest and torture of prisoners -- on April 25 as it withdrew its soldiers from Lebanon, ending its 29-year domination of its neighbor.


* CARACAS, Venezuela -- Three explosive devices detonated at a military base and near a government office as Venezuelans prepared for a congressional vote, the attorney general's office said. The incidents came as three opposition groups called for boycotts of the election. Three people, including a police officer, were injured, according to Aryeli Vera, spokeswoman for the attorney general's office.

* PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Gunmen who kidnapped a Haitian journalist and his father released them after fellow reporters paid a $4,500 ransom. Wadson Desir, 27, a journalist for radio Metropole and a contributor to Radio France Internationale, was kidnapped on Friday, the day an American missionary was released amid a wave of abductions in Haiti ahead of next month's national elections.

Desir was the second journalist kidnapped in Haiti in recent months. Jacques Roche, who worked for the newspaper Le Matin and hosted a TV talk show, was found tortured to death last July after he was abducted.

* MONTREAL -- Thousands of protesters in cities across the world took to the streets to demand urgent action on global warming as delegates at an international climate change conference worked to review and update the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. About 7,000 people marched in Montreal, and protests were expected in 32 other countries.


* CAIRO -- Independent election monitors will be able to watch ballot-counting by closed-circuit television in all future Egyptian elections, a court ruled. Election monitors have complained of difficulty gaining access to polling and counting stations during Egypt's violence-marred parliamentary elections, which began Nov. 9 and will end with a third round runoff on Dec. 7.

Monitoring groups charge that police beat opposition supporters and blocked polling places after the first round runoff, in which Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood made a surprisingly strong showing.


* KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine recorded its first bird flu outbreak, prompting the president to declare a state of emergency in four Crimean villages where more than 1,600 chickens and geese have died of the disease.

In Romania, new cases of bird flu have been detected in a village outside the Danube delta, where the deadly H5N1 strain was first discovered in October, officials said.

In Indonesia, a 25-year-old woman has become the eighth person to die from bird flu in that country, a senior Health Ministry official said, citing results from a Hong Kong laboratory. The woman became the 69th person to die from the disease, said Hariadi Wibisono, the official.


* TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's opposition Nationalist Party won an overwhelming victory in municipal elections, bolstering its agenda of reunification with China during the 2008 presidential campaign.

With more than 97 percent of the votes counted, Nationalist candidates or Nationalist allies won 17 of the 23 constituencies.

-- From News Services