World

Tensions between India and Pakistan appeared to ease slightly Monday with a hint of possible high-level talks. India's Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh praised Pakistan's detention of two dozen Kashmir militants, including a founder of Lashkar-i-Tayyaba, as "a step forward." Lashkar is one of two groups India blames for a suicide attack on its Parliament Dec. 13, which prompted the largest buildup of troops along the border in nearly 15 years. Singh did not rule out one-on-one talks between India's prime minister and Pakistan's president at a regional summit in Nepal next week.

Argentina's second interim president in two weeks was due to be chosen yesterday in a special session of Congress. Adolfo Rodriguez Saa abruptly resigned the post Sunday. His brief administration failed to quell violent protests by Argentines angry over hyperinflation and caps on bank withdrawals.

The US Army's 101st Airborne Division is set to replace marines at Kandahar airport base in southern Afghanistan. The marines have been readying runways for aid flights and building detention facilities for Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. US forces have taken custody of some 180 prisoners, who are being questioned about Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network. Meanwhile, residents of the eastern Afghan village of Qalaye Niazi said US airstrikes killed more than 100 people Sunday. A US military spokes- man said the incident is under investigation.

With the arrival of Jan.1, euro coins and bank notes went into circulation in 12 European Union nations. Above, chef Giulio Buonomo in Naples, Italy, honors the change with a "euro" pizza. The euro is replacing the mark, franc, lira, drachma, and other currencies used by more than 300 million people. Two French banks, worried about long ATM lines, asked customers to refrain from rushing to make withdrawals New Year's Day. Italian bank officials said Monday that only one-third of cash machines in Italy will be ready to dispense euros at the stroke of midnight.

An Ebola outbreak in the West African nation of Gabon has killed 16 out of 18 people diagnosed with the disease, officials in the capital, Libreville, said Monday. Cases of Ebola also have been reported in neighboring Congo since the outbreak began in October.

It was a wet and windy New Year in one of the first places in the world to see it. Officials in the South Pacific kingdom of Tonga, just east of the International Dateline, said tropical Cyclone Waka battered several hundred residents of the tiny island of Niuafo'ou. The storm damaged buildings and crops and briefly knocked out communications.

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