- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 11, 2002

Afghan explosion called accidental
JALALABAD, Afghanistan A preliminary investigation shows a warehouse explosion that devastated a neighborhood and killed at least 14 persons and injured 90 in this eastern Afghan city was an accident and not an act of terror, the Afghan foreign minister said yesterday.
The head of the construction company that owned the warehouse said the building housed stocks of explosives for road-building.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullan, meeting with reporters in Kabul, the Afghan capital, said authorities would look at whether negligence might have been involved. "There might have been some mistakes in maintaining the amount of explosives that were kept in reserve in that building."
The thunderous blast at midday Friday destroyed about 50 surrounding houses and damaged hundreds of others in western Jalalabad, and damaged the power system of the Darunta hydroelectric dam, just 200 yards from the warehouse, knocking out city power until repairs were completed early yesterday.

Asia, Europe rocked by deadly storms
BEIJING The death toll from storms hammering swathes of eastern Asia and Europe rose toward 140 yesterday.
Torrential rains have triggered landslides and floods in southern China, killing 70 persons and damaging a main rice-producing area.
Fourteen persons have died in South Korea. In Russia, rescue workers battled muddy torrents surging through southern resorts after heavy rains and a violent tornado left at least 44 dead and hundreds of vacationers stranded.
Elsewhere in Europe, flooding and storms are thought to have killed seven persons in Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Heavy rains have also brought chaos to Croatia, the Crimea, Austria and Italy.

Children hacked, killed in Congo civil war
KINSHASA, Congo At least 75 persons, many of them women and children who were hacked to death, have been killed in fighting this week in northeastern Congo, the United Nations said yesterday.
The clashes involving tribal militias, a rebel group and the Ugandan army flared in a local turf war within a messy four-year conflict that has left an estimated 2 million people dead in the mineral-rich heart of Africa.
A pit containing 38 hacked-up bodies including 13 women and four children was found on Friday in a northern district of the town of Bunia, U.N. officials said. Some 37 bodies were discovered after fighting on Thursday.

N. Korea devalues to rescue economy
SEOUL North Korea slashed the official exchange rate for its currency last week as the latest step in a new reform program aimed at reviving the moribund economy, foreign residents say.
The official value of the won dropped from 46.5 U.S. cents to just two-thirds of a cent, the residents reported, speaking on the condition of anonymity. That's still overvalued compared with the black market, where a won is worth only a half cent.

Pakistan to display missile expertise
KARACHI, Pakistan Pakistan will tout its technology for extending the useable life of surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles at an arms show next month in Karachi, a top general said yesterday.
Maj. Gen. Syed Ali Hamid said Pakistan would promote services that would extend a missile's life by five to seven years. After the last arms show, Pakistan's military exports jumped from $40 million to $85 million.

China says no to Taiwan in U.N.
BEIJING China said yesterday that the notion that Taipei would join the United Nations was repugnant and represented unacceptable interference in Beijing's internal affairs.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan as saying that several nations, "at the instigation of the Taiwan authorities," wanted Taiwan's membership to be discussed at the next session of the U.N. General Assembly.

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