- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 23, 2006

RUSSIA

Roof collapses, kills dozens

MOSCOW — The snow-covered roof of a large Moscow market collapsed yesterday, killing at least 52 persons and forcing rescuers to clear away concrete slabs and metal beams to reach possible survivors trapped in the wreckage.

Rescue workers used metal cutters and pickaxes to break through the wreckage, calling out through holes in search of survivors. Every few minutes, the rescuers turned off their electric generators and stood silently to listen for signs of life.

UGANDA

Museveni takes narrow vote lead

KAMPALA — Ugandan election authorities counted ballots into the early hours today, with a tiny early sample giving President Yoweri Museveni a narrow lead over his main rival and former doctor, Kizza Besigye.

Mr. Museveni hopes to extend a 20-year rule critics say has become increasingly authoritarian. Even before polls closed yesterday, Mr. Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change was crying fraud and talking of a legal challenge.

Despite logistical problems, including many names missing from the voters’ register, Uganda’s first multiparty election for 25 years finished peacefully. A final tally is expected tomorrow, but a winner could emerge later today.

ISRAEL

Troops kill five Palestinians

BALATA REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank — Israeli troops killed five Palestinians and seriously wounded a sixth man yesterday in a sweep through a militant stronghold.

Three of the dead were gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — an offshoot of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party — who were killed in the Balata refugee camp.

JORDAN

Israel disavows general’s remark

JERUSALEM — Interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sought yesterday to settle a diplomatic spat with Jordan, telling King Abdullah II that suggestions by an Israeli general that the monarchy’s days were numbered did not reflect Israeli policy, officials said.

Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, commander of Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, on Wednesday cited a potential challenge to the constitutional monarchy from the kingdom’s Palestinian majority.

NIGERIA

Bodies burned after riots

ONITSHA — Christian youths burned the corpses of Muslims yesterday on the streets of Onitsha in southeastern Nigeria, the city worst hit by religious riots that have killed at least 138 persons across the country in five days.

Christian mobs, seeking revenge for the killings of Christians in the north, attacked Muslims with cutlasses, destroyed their houses and torched mosques in two days of violence in Onitsha, where at least 85 persons have died.

KAZAKHSTAN

Official held in killing of opposition leader

ALMATY — Kazakh police investigating the slaying of an opposition politician have detained a senior civil servant, authorities said yesterday, as the opposition stepped up pressure on President Nursultan Nazarbayev over the death. Altynbek Sarsenbayev, a moderate opposition leader, was fatally shot outside Almaty earlier this month.

NORTH KOREA

Envoys to discuss counterfeiting

A senior North Korean diplomat is expected to meet in New York next week with U.S. officials on the sanctions the administration has imposed on Pyongyang for purported counterfeiting of U.S. dollars.

A State Department official said Li Gun, head of the North American division of the North Korean Foreign Ministry, is likely to meet with State and Treasury Department officials on March 4.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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