Militants in Tunisia had envoys' names

TUNIS, Tunisia - Nearly 30 Islamic extremists involved in a deadly gun battle with police in this North African country had blueprints of embassies and documents naming foreign envoys, the interior minister said yesterday.

Haj Kacem described the 27 people involved in the Jan. 3 clash as "Salafist terrorists," referring to the hard-line movement among Muslim fundamentalists, the official news agency TAP reported.

At least 14 people, including two members of security forces, were killed in the shoot-out in Soliman, 25 miles south of the capital, Tunis. Fifteen people were arrested. - AP

China, Russia veto Myanmar measure

UNITED NATIONS - China and Russia yesterday cast a rare double veto of a U.S. resolution calling on Myanmar's military government to release all political prisoners, speed up progress toward democracy, and stop attacks against ethnic minorities.

The vote in the Security Council was 9-3, with three abstentions. South Africa, a new nonpermanent member of the council, joined China and Russia in opposing the resolution.

Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya and Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the Security Council was not the proper place to discuss Myanmar because the country did not pose a threat to international peace and security. - AP
China soon to face

shortage of women

BEIJING - China will have 30 million more men of marriageable age than women in less than 15 years as an imbalance resulting from the country's tough one-child policy becomes more pronounced, state media reported yesterday.

The tens of millions of men unable to find a wife could also lead to social instability problems, the China Daily said in a front-page report.

China imposed strict population controls in the 1970s to limit population growth. One side effect has been a jump in sex selection of babies. Traditional preferences for a son mean some women have an abortion if a sonogram shows the fetus is female. - AP

Elsewhere:

Former Argentine President Isabel Peron was briefly detained yesterday in Madrid, Spain, as part of investigations into the South American country's past human-rights abuses, police said. After appearing in court, she was released, pending an extradition request from Argentina.

Nine South Korean pipeline workers and a Nigerian kidnapped in southern Nigeria were released yesterday. No ransom was paid in the freeing of the 10, taken hostage Wednesday, the government of Bayelsa state said.

French authorities yesterday freed Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov after four days of questioning about a suspected prostitution ring at the swank Alpine ski resort of Courchevel, a prosecutor said.

Two buses collided near Saudi Arabia's border with the United Arab Emirates yesterday, killing 22 and injuring 24 leaving the kingdom after participating in this year's hajj pilgrimage, the state news agency said.