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LIBYA

Lockerbie bomber appears at pro-Gadhafi rally

TRIPOLI — The Libyan man convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing attended a pro-Gadhafi rally, and Libyan state TV images showing the bomber in a wheelchair in a crowd in Tripoli revived criticism in Britain on Wednesday of the decision to grant him early release on medical grounds.

Abdel Baset al-Megrahi's presence at Tuesday's rally appeared to be another sign of defiance by the embattled regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, locked in a civil war with anti-government rebels for the past five months.

Britain officially recognized Libya's main opposition group as the country's legitimate government and expelled all diplomats from Col. Gadhafi's regime Wednesday.

Al-Megrahi was convicted in the 1988 downing of a Pan Am plane that killed 270 people, most of them Americans, over Lockerbie, Scotland.

He was released from a Scottish prison in 2009 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, and at the time was given three months to live. Al-Megrahi returned to a hero's welcome in Libya later that year.

NORTH KOREA

Nation demands peace treaty with U.S.

SEOUL — North Korea demanded Wednesday that the United States sign a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War, as a senior North Korean diplomat visited New York to negotiate ways to restart six-nation nuclear disarmament talks.

In an editorial marking the 58th anniversary of an armistice that ended the 1950-53 war, the North's official Korean Central News Agency insisted a peace treaty could go a long way toward resolving a deadlock over Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

North Korea has long called for a peace treaty with the United States. The armistice left the Korean peninsula in a technical state of war.

Its latest push comes as North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan makes a fresh attempt to reopen six-nation talks that were last held in December 2008.

UKRAINE

Judge rejects plea to arrest ex-premier

KIEV — Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Wednesday escaped an attempt by prosecutors to have her jailed during her trial, but the request signaled growing pressure on the defiant opposition leader.

Judge Rodion Kireyev rejected the prosecutors' motion, although he warned Mrs. Tymoshenko that she risks punishment if she continues to disrupt the court as it hears the abuse-of-office charges against her.

Mrs. Tymoshenko, the country's top opposition leader, has criticized the trial as an attempt by President Viktor Yanukovych to bar her from elections.

She has refused, as required, to stand up while addressing the judge, and her supporters repeatedly have disrupted hearings.

SOUTH KOREA

Landslides leave 32 dead, 10 missing

SEOUL — A blast of heavy rain sent landslides barreling through South Korea's capital and a northern town Wednesday, killing at least 32 people, including 10 college students doing volunteer work.

The students died as mud and debris engulfed them as they slept in a resort cabin in Chuncheon, about 68 miles northeast of the capital Seoul, said Byun In-soo of the town's fire station. A married couple and a convenience store owner also died.

About 500 officials and residents worked to rescue people trapped in the mud and wreckage.

In southern Seoul, 16 people died when mud crashed through residences at the foot of a mountain, emergency official Kim Jong-seon said.

Three others also died after a stream just south of Seoul flooded, Mr. Kim said, and 10 people were reported missing throughout the country.

CHINA

Fruit vendor's death sparks riot in south

BEIJING — Angry residents in a southern Chinese city went on a rampage after officials apparently beat to death a disabled fruit vendor, state media said Wednesday, in the latest incident of social unrest in the world's second-largest economy.

The China Daily said that thousands of people gathered on the streets of Anshun in Guizhou province Tuesday afternoon, throwing stones at police and overturning a government vehicle.

The riot was sparked after urban management officers — a quasi-police force that enforces laws against begging and other petty offenses — were suspected of beating the vendor to death, the newspaper said.

"The unidentified vendor died in front of the gate of a market ... which led to the gathering of the local people," it cited a government statement as saying.

Xinhua News Agency said about 30 protesters and 10 police officers were injured in the unrest.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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