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World Scene

- - Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CHINA

Interest rate raised for 1st time since crisis

BEIJING | China raised its key interest rate Tuesday for the first time since the global financial crisis as it tries to control inflation and rapid growth even as other Asian economies move to keep their recoveries on track.

The rate hike, China's first since 2007, reflected Beijing's focus on guiding growth to a more sustainable level rather than revving up the economy after it expanded by 10.3 percent in the second quarter.

The rate on a one-year loan was raised by 0.25 percentage points to 5.56 percent effective Wednesday, said the People's Bank of China, the nation's central bank. The one-year rate paid on deposits was raised, also by 0.25 percentage points, to 2.5 percent.

PERU

Peru offers dock rights to coast-hungry Bolivia

LIMA | Landlocked Bolivia is getting a tiny sliver of the Pacific — a dock, a free-trade zone and the right to run some naval vessels, although the agreement signed Tuesday with Peru falls far short of what Bolivians have wanted for 126 years — a coastline of their own.

President Alan Garcia announced the pact during a ceremony at the southern Peruvian port of Ilo. It is part of a long-standing crusade by Peru and Bolivia to prod neighboring Chile into giving back some of the territory it seized in the 19th-century War of the Pacific.

"It is unjust that Bolivia has no sovereign outlet to the ocean," Mr. Garcia said, with Bolivian President Evo Morales at his side. "This is also a Bolivian sea."

Mr. Morales said the agreement would give Bolivia a gateway to export its products, and he vowed that "Bolivia, sooner or later, will return to the sea."

PAKISTAN

Rash of killings grips Pakistan's largest city

ISLAMABAD | Gunmen killed five people in Pakistan's largest city Tuesday, an official said, the latest victims in a surge of violence to grip Karachi and underscore the poor state of law and order in this U.S.-allied nation.

At least 37 people, including several political activists, have been killed and another 48 have been wounded since Saturday in the southern port city, said Sharmila Farooqi, a spokeswoman for the Sindh province government. The violence coincided with Sunday's election to replace a provincial lawmaker killed in August.

Karachi, a vast metropolis with more than 16 million residents, is prone to political, ethnic and religious strife. While officials would not name any suspects, many so-called "target killings" in Karachi have been linked to gangs reportedly controlled by two of the city's long-feuding political parties.

IRAN

Key site boasts higher uranium reserves

TEHRAN | Iran said Tuesday that it has discovered higher uranium reserves than previously thought at a key southern mine and was stepping up exploration of the ore, which is the basis for the country's nuclear program.

Nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said the reserves were found at Iran's only operating uranium mine near Bandar Abbas in southern Iran, 840 miles south of the capital, Tehran.

SUDAN

South's army slams U.N. as troops amass

KHARTOUM | South Sudan's army accused the United Nations on Tuesday of failing to report a massive buildup of northern troops around sensitive border areas, warning that war could erupt.

Senior southern army officer Mat Paul said the separate northern Sudan army was preventing the U.N. peacekeeping mission (UNMIS) from monitoring a cease-fire and U.N. officials were not owning up to their lack of access.

Most analysts say they think southerners will vote to secede from the north in an emotional referendum on independence due in less than three months, the culmination of a 2005 north-south peace deal ending Africa's longest civil war.

AUSTRIA

Thousands demand more college funds

VIENNA | Tens of thousands of students marched through Austrian cities Tuesday to demand more money for higher education in an unexpectedly large protest backed by university staff.

Police estimates for the largest turnout — in Vienna — were 15,000 people, mostly students but also academic staff and other supporters. Roughly 5,000 others took to the streets in Salzburg and Graz.

Amid the protests, university presidents warned of large-scale layoffs and even the closures of some institutions barring more money from the government by 2013.

Most Austrian universities are state-run, and chronic underfunding has resulted in lack of staff and facilities.

From wire dispatches and staff reports