World

The Red Cross complained that US military commanders had violated assurances that no raid would be conducted on the hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where six Al Qaeda captives were killed Monday. A senior official of the humanitarian agency said he was not even warned that the attack - conducted by Afghans with US support - was to take place. A formal protest, however, did not appear likely. Some of the Afghan attackers were hurt, one of them seriously. The hospital had been partly under Red Cross control. Meanwhile, 16 US soldiers were hurt elsewhere in Afghanistan when the helicopter in which they were riding landed hard. There were no indications that it had been hit by gunfire. (Related story, page 1.)

A national day of mourning was declared in Nigeria as the casualty count from Sunday's fire and explosions at a Lagos ammunition depot rose to more than 600 dead. Reports suggested the number was likely to go even higher. Emergency crews raced to try to "neutralize" dozens of bombs and shells that had failed to go off and remained in "fragile condition." Separate investigations were begun by the Army and both houses of Parliament after the facility's commander acknowledged that it had been in poor condition. Above, a fireman wets down a nearby factory destroyed by an exploding shell.

The popular Foreign Minister of Japan was fired after a series of alleged misdeeds by officials in her agency. Makiko Tanaka was closely identified with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's campaign to shake the nation out of its political inertia. But in the most recent flap, she and her deputy were on opposite sides of a public dispute over last week's international conference in Tokyo on aid to rebuild Afghanistan. The dispute has held up action in parliament over next year's budget.

Up to 1 million protesters jammed the center of Madagascar's capital as an opposition-led general strike aimed at toppling the government entered its second day. The demonstrators won pledges from state TV and radio to report more even-handedly on political news. The strike was called after the Supreme Court ruled that neither opposition candidate Marc Ravalomana nor incumbent Didier Ratsiraka had won last month's presidential election, requiring a runoff. Ravalomana claims the vote was rigged.

Would-be rescuers were focusing their efforts on a glacier in the Andes after an Ecuadorean passenger jet with 92 people aboard lost radio contact and disappeared. The flight was en route from Quito, Ecuador's capital, to Calí, Colombia.

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