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BRITAIN

Brown sets out options for anti-terror laws

LONDON — Prime Minister Gordon Brown set out plans for tough new anti-terrorism laws yesterday, saying police need greater powers to hold and question terrorism suspects in increasingly complex and global plots.

Addressing lawmakers before Parliament went into recess for two months, Mr. Brown said one option under consideration was extending the time that police can question terrorism suspects. Currently, suspects are charged or released within 28 days.

Although Mr. Brown held off on specific proposals, he told lawmakers that state-of-emergency laws could extend police custody to 58 days.

BRAZIL

Defense minister fired after air crash

BRASILIA — President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva fired his defense minister yesterday, heeding calls for the removal of top aviation officials after nearly 200 people were killed in Brazil's worst air crash last week.

Waldir Pires was forced out after two deadly air crashes in less than a year and months of chaos in Brazil's air traffic system, which is run by the military.

The president's office said Nelson Jobim, a retired Supreme Court justice with close ties to Mr. Lula da Silva, will take over the Defense Ministry.

RUSSIA

Explosion, fire hit gas pipeline

LAVRIKI — A huge explosion and fire hit a major gas pipeline in northwest Russia today, but there were no reports of casualties and officials said gas exports were not affected.

"It is an explosion on a trunk gas pipeline under high pressure," said Valentin Sedorin, a spokesman for the Leningrad region around Russia's second city of St. Petersburg.

Witnesses spoke of a massive explosion that shook buildings three miles from the epicenter and caused traffic jams as people jumped in cars and fled the area.

The head of the regional emergencies ministry department said he did not think the blast was a terrorist incident. "I personally exclude a version that this was caused by an act of terror," Vladimir Kudryavtsev said.

SUDAN

Attacks on Darfur aid convoys escalate

CAIRO — A dramatic increase in attacks on aid convoys in Darfur is hampering the world's largest humanitarian operation, and about 170,000 people are now out of reach of food aid because of the violence, the United Nations' World Food Program said today.

Nine food convoys have been ambushed by gunmen across the war-torn region of western Sudan over the past two weeks alone, the WFP said in a statement.

The U.N. food agency condemned the "dramatic escalation in attacks on humanitarian staff and food convoys." It said the violence was endangering the WFP's ability to deliver assistance to millions of hungry people.

INDIA

Grandmother dies after being dumped

MADRAS — A sick 75-year-old grandmother who was thrown in the garbage by her relatives last week has died, officials said yesterday.

Chinnammal Palaniappan died Sunday in a home for elderly people where she was taken after being rescued from the garbage dump in Erode, 248 miles from Madras, capital of southern Tamil Nadu state.

Mrs. Palaniappan told her rescuers that on July 19 she was taken from her home by her grandsons and on waking up found herself among a heap of rotting garbage. She said her daughter instructed the grandsons to dump her far away so that she could not find her way back.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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