The surrender of weapons by resisters in Fallujah, Iraq, so far has amounted to no more than a pickup truck full of "junk," a US Marine commander said, warning that his units would resume their offensive in the city within days if it doesn't yield the desired result. He questioned whether city elders, who urged the surrender, had as much influence as advertised. Meanwhile, German engineering giant Siemens led contractors involved in rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure in pulling their employees out for safety reasons.Skip to next paragraph
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Investigators were sifting through the damage in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after Wednesday's terrorist bomb explosion that killed at least four people and wounded 148 others. But while the government said the attackers would "face the ire" of Saudis, a group identifying itself as Al Haramain Brigades and claiming to follow "imam bin Laden" vowed the blast "is but one of the many shades of pain we will make you taste."
Casualties appeared to be extremely heavy from an explosion at a rail station in North Korea, near the border with China, early reports said. State-run news outlets in the communist North carried no word of the blast, but an all-news TV channel in South Korea said the deaths and injuries could number as high as 3,000. Citing sources on the Chinese side of the border, it said the blast occurred when two trains - one carrying gasoline and the other liquefied natural gas - collided. The North's leader, Kim Jong Il, who travels by train, passed through the station earlier Thursday on his return from a visit to Beijing, the reports said.
Kim Jong Il told his hosts in China he was willing to be "patient" and "flexible" in seeking a peaceful resolution of the nuclear weapons standoff with the US and other Western governments, North Korea's KCNA news agency said. Senior government officials in South Korea have said they think the next round of negotiations on the North's weapons program - expected by midsummer - has a "high possibility" of progress, even though two previous rounds have produced none.
Late opinion polls showed the possibility of easy victory Saturday for the UN reunification plan in the Turkish sector of Cyprus - but rejection by voters in the Greek sector. The plan envisions autonomy for both sectors under a weak central government.