Bad weather likely cause of helicopter crash

MEXICO CITY - A helicopter crash that killed a Cabinet minister and his deputy appears to have been caused by bad weather, the president's office said Thursday.

While one official aboard the craft had received death threats from a drug trafficker, authorities said poor visibility probably was to blame for Wednesday's crash that killed Public Safety Secretary Ramon Martin Huerta and Federal Preventive Police Commissioner Tomas Valencia.

British troops keeping low profile in Basra

BAGHDAD - British troops in the tense southern city of Basra greatly reduced their presence in the streets Thursday, apparently responding to a provincial governor's call to sever cooperation until London apologized for storming a police station to free two of its soldiers.

For the second day, no British forces were seen accompanying Iraqi police on patrols of Basra.

Bombing kills six in Pakistan

LAHORE, Pakistan - Two bombs exploded about 90 minutes apart Thursday in this eastern Pakistan city, leaving six people dead and two dozen wounded, police said.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed condemned the blasts, which he said were carried out by ''enemies of Pakistan.'' There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Bush calls for Middle East peace meetings

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Thursday asked Jordan's King Abdullah II to visit Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to help advance the Middle East peace process.

''It will be very helpful to have your voice of reason there to talk to both leaders,'' Bush said after meeting with Abdullah in the Oval Office.

Palestinian man shot entering Israeli base

JERUSALEM - Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unarmed, 19-year-old Palestinian man Thursday who entered an aging military base in the northern West Bank hours before the army vacated it, Palestinian security officials said.

Allah Khamtouni and nine other Palestinians went into the Dotan base near the Palestinian town of Jenin mistakenly thinking it already had been abandoned, Palestinian officials said.

- From wire reports