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By Compiled from wire service reports by Kristen Browan-Worthington and Steven Savides / January 8, 2002



"A proper, meaningful dialogue" between Pakistan and India is the only way to solve the current standoff, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday after meeting with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. Blair was expected to press the Pakistani leader for a clear statement condemning terrorism. India says Pakistan hasn't done enough to crack down on Kashmiri militant groups that Delhi blames for a suicide attack on parliament last month. Below, residents of a village on the Indian side of the border pack up their belongings, concerned about possible war. One Indian and five Pakistani soldiers died yesterday in the latest exchanges of fire in disputed Kashmir.

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Hunting for Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, US troops in four helicopters landed overnight in Khost and Zawar, in eastern Afghanistan, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press Agency reported. Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said US jets carried out four airstrikes in the same area Sunday, blasting a military compound where followers of Osama bin Laden allegedly had been regrouping. Khost is the former headquarters of Jalaluddin Haqqani, a senior Taliban minister high on the US most-wanted list. Clarke added that construction is under way to refurbish former refugee camps at the US Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a prison for detainees from the Afghan conflict. More than 340 are already in US custody. (Related story, page 1.)

A mortar-bomb explosion in eastern Sierra Leone killed six United Nations peacekeepers and injured 12 more over the weekend. All of the casualties were Zambian soldiers serving with the UN mission, the largest in the world. UN officials said the blast occurred as weapons were being unloaded from a truck, in a disarmament operation between rebels and pro-government militia that is nearly complete.

Argentina may seek $15 billion to $20 billion in new aid from international lenders, according to Economy Minister Jorge Remes Lenicov. This, after the government devalued the peso by 29 percent against the dollar amid an economic crisis. In a radio interview late Sunday, Lenicov said the International Monetary Fund was sending a technical mission to the country. Argentina was also the topic of a conference call yesterday by the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

After a 40-year career, French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is retiring. The spring-summer shows in Paris will be his last. Announcing his plans, Saint Laurent, who pioneered looks such as trouser suits, said, "I have created the wardrobe of the contemporary woman." (Story, page 7)

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