Some of the views offered by North Korea's delegation to the renewed six-sided talks on nuclear disarmament "cannot be agreed on," diplomats said, announcing that the meetings will be extended to Friday. The discussions appeared unlikely to yield agreement on a firm deadline for disabling all of the North's facilities, which the US has hoped could be completed by year's end. The North also reacted angrily to the raising by Japan's delegates of the kidnapping of 13 Japanese for training as spies – a matter that the former has admitted but now considers closed.Skip to next paragraph
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A police academy and a convoy of Chinese guest workers were targeted by militant bombers at opposite ends of Pakistan Thursday, and reports said 36 people were killed and 54 others were wounded – many of them critically. None of the dead were Chinese, however, since the vehicles in the convoy were spaced far enough apart that only Pakistanis took casualties. It was not immediately clear whether the attacks were related to the backlash against the storming by government troops of a radical mosque last week. Above, a policeman inspects a vehicle destroyed in the convoy attack.
Sunni members of Iraq's parliament ended their five-week boycott, two days after Shiites loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr returned. Forty-four Sunnis from the Iraqi Accordance Front attended Thursday's session after winning agreement that ousted Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani would be reinstated. Mashhadani, a Sunni, was replaced last month by a Shiite legislator for alleged erratic behavior.
Government officials pledged unspecified "macro" controls on China's roaring economy Thursday after reporting that it grew in the April-June quarter at the fastest rate in 12 years. The 11.9 percent rise was 0.8 points higher than in the year's first quarter and keeps China on pace for a fifth straight year of double-digit growth. The officials said only that steps would be taken to "change the pattern of growth and deepen reform." China has raised interest rates four times in the past 14 months amid massive new investment in its economy.
Robots will be developed for bomb-disposal work in southern Thailand, the government announced after a device planted by Muslim separatists exploded, killing a security officer who was trying to defuse it. Eighteen others were wounded. In Pattani Province, a school guard was hurt when another bomb exploded shortly before Army chief Sonthi Boonyaratkalin was due to arrive for a visit aimed at boosting the morale of local security forces.
Using foreign currency to buy gasoline – one of the few remaining ways Zimbabweans could obtain fuel to keep their cars running – was banned by the government Thursday. Gasoline frequently has been in short supply as the economy labors under the world's highest inflation rate, and President Robert Mugabe has appealed unsuccessfully to other African countries for regular shipments. But the shortages have become acute since his government ordered commodity prices cut by half three weeks ago, sparking panic-buying.
Anger and finger-pointing were being directed at Brazil's government for the crash of an Airbus passenger jet that killed an estimated 191 people Tuesday night at São Paulo's airport. Speculation for the cause centered on a runway that was wet and is so short that pilots are warned to circle for another landing if they can't touch down within its first 1,000 feet. Critics also noted that the military has charge of the air-traffic control system, whose senior positions have been filled by political appointees with little experience.
Rescue crews raced against time and monsoon rain storms to reach residents trapped under a collapsed seven-story building in Mumbai (Bombay), India. At least 26 people died and 15 others were hurt when the structure fell Wednesday night. City authorities routinely order the demolition of buildings in poor condition as monsoon season approaches. But this one wasn't listed as a safety hazard.