Pentagon drops effort to recover soldiers' remains

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon on Wednesday abruptly suspended U.S. efforts to recover the remains of American soldiers from North Korea. The communist country was creating an environment that could have jeopardized the safety of U.S. workers, the Defense Department said.

No specifics were provided. The announcement came amid rising tensions with North Korea over its nuclear weapons and missile programs and concern that it might be preparing a live nuclear test.

Palestinian leader seeks to delay parliament vote

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas wants to postpone parliamentary elections until November, hoping to recapture some of the popular support his ruling Fatah party has lost, officials said Wednesday.

Two Palestinian officials close to Abbas, who is in the U.S. for talks with President Bush, confirmed the Palestinian leader is looking to push back the July 17 vote by four months.

The delay could inflame tensions between Fatah and the Islamic militant group, already high over disputed results in a recent round of local elections in which Hamas had a strong showing.

Bomb explodes in Madrid after rebel warning

MADRID, Spain - Suspected Basque rebels detonated a powerful car bomb during rush-hour in Madrid Wednesday, injuring 52 people in the sixth attack since Spain's prime minister offered the group negotiations if it renounces violence, authorities said.

An anonymous warning on behalf of the separatist group ETA to a pro-independence Basque newspaper preceded the morning blast in an area of office buildings and shops in a working-class neighborhood in Spain's capital, officials said. Police had time to cordon off the area before the blast.

Uzbek leader arrives in China

BEIJING - China rolled out the red carpet Wednesday for President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, welcoming the authoritarian leader with bouquets despite sharp Western criticism for his bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters this month.

While the visit was a courtesy trip scheduled well before the May 13 uprising in the eastern Uzbek town of Andijan, it gave Karimov a way to show that China supported him. On Tuesday, Beijing said it ''firmly'' backed his actions in crushing the anti-government demonstrators.

Uzbek officials claim 169 people were killed in Andijan.

- From wire reports