World

Islamic seminaries in Pakistan vowed Thursday to resist a government move to expel all foreign students by the end of the year, while the government said there would be no extension of the deadline. President Pervez Musharraf has ordered all foreigners studying at the religious schools, known as madrassahs, to leave by Dec. 31 as part of a drive to stamp out terrorism and religious extremism following the July 7 London bombings. Pakistan issued the expulsion order after revelations that at least one of the London bombers had visited a madrassah in Pakistan.

A Palestinian suicide bomber trying to enter Israel blew himself up Thursday at a military checkpoint in the West Bank set up to foil the attack, killing an Israeli soldier and two other Palestinians. The army had set up a number of roadblocks in the area shortly after receiving warnings that a suicide bomber was headed toward Israel. The bombing came hours after Israeli warplanes and artillery pounded the northern Gaza Strip, beginning an aggressive new campaign to stop Palestinian rocket fire.

Northern-based rebels in Ivory Coast expressed satisfaction Thursday with the war-divided nation's new national unity government, while government loyalists appealed for calm. Young supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo spilled into the streets of the government-held south's main city, Abidjan, to protest Wednesday's announcement of the new Cabinet, which includes rebel leader Guillaume Soro. Ivory Coast slid into civil war after a failed September 2002 attempt to oust Mr. Gbagbo, with insurgents taking control of the north and government forces controlling the rich south of the world's largest cocoa exporter.

China accused Japan Thursday of "vile behavior" for blaming the suicide of a Japanese diplomat on Chinese agents, setting off fresh tensions between the Asian rivals. China criticized a statement by a Japanese government official Wednesday that the Japanese consulate official in Shanghai killed himself in May 2004 as a result of "an impermissible act by the Chinese security authorities." The angry exchange is the latest in a yearlong series of disputes between Beijing and Tokyo.

Italian prosecutors have placed Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi under investigation for allegedly bribing a lawyer to give false testimony in cases against him, lawyers said Thursday. Mr. Berlusconi's attorney denied the accusations, and charged that they had been made public to damage the premier ahead of national elections next April. The cases against Berlusconi were for bribing tax officials to obtain favorable audits at companies belonging to his media group, Fininvest, and for funneling money through holding company All Iberian to fund the socialist party of former Italian Premier Bettino Craxi in 1991.

South Korea's top university said Thursday that leading researcher Hwang Woo-Suk fabricated all of the stem cells he said were cloned from individual patients - a shattering blow to the scientist's reputation as a medical pioneer. Hwang bolted to international fame last year when he published an article in the journal Science claiming that he had created the world's first cloned human embryo and extracted stem cells from it.

Two suspected Taliban suicide bombers died Thursday when explosives they were strapping to their bodies exploded prematurely in southern Afghanistan, officials said. The blast follows a string of suicide attacks and comes days after a top rebel commander claimed that more than 200 insurgents were willing to kill themselves in assaults on US-led forces. This year has been the deadliest since coalition forces ousted the Taliban in 2001. Militants belonging to the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other groups have stepped up attacks, and the fighting has killed more than 1,500 people.

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