Suicide bomber attacks station in Iraq oil hub

BAGHDAD- A suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden truck filled with sand struck a police station north of Baghdad on Saturday, the latest in a week of bombings that have killed nearly 80 people.

The truck was allowed through the main gate of the complex in Beiji, the site of Iraq's largest refinery, after the driver told the guards he was delivering the sand to a construction site inside. The driver detonated his payload when two policemen approached him as he tried to enter a parking lot, police said.

The blast, which damaged nearby homes and sent shards of glass flying through the air, killed eight people and wounded 16, police said. It occurred in a neighborhood that is home to many refinery workers and engineers, but apparently was targeting the station.

S. Korea Coast Guard struggles

to contain oil spill

MALLIPO BEACH, South Korea - Thick, smelly crude oil washed up on an 11-mile stretch of scenic coastline Saturday, blackening seagulls and threatening fish farms as South Korea's Coast Guard struggled to contain the country's largest oil spill.

Residents and emergency workers used buckets to try to remove the dense oil carried by strong winds and currents to the country's western coast.

Nearly 2,200 troops, police and residents were engaged in cleanup efforts at Mallipo - one of South Korea's best-known beaches and an important rest stop for migrating birds. Tides of dark sea water crashed ashore, while the odor reached areas a half-mile away.

The Coast Guard dispatched 62 ships and five helicopters to battle the spill.

Pakistani general says army has

militants on the run

MINGORA, Pakistan - The Pakistani army has driven Islamic militants from all the towns in a scenic northern valley and killed 290 of the followers of a pro-Taliban cleric who has called for a holy war against the government, a general said Saturday.

The militants, followers of firebrand preacher Maulana Fazlullah, had taken control of at least eight towns in the Swat valley since July, scattering outgunned police and erecting 'Taliban station' signboards outside former police stations.

Aruba prosecutor mulling closure

of Holloway case

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Aruba's chief prosecutor said he will close the case of missing American teenager Natalee Holloway by the end of the month unless his office finds that there is enough evidence to charge someone with a major crime.

The prosecutor, Hans Mos, said he would not comment about the kind of evidence his office is reviewing but that he does not anticipate finding Holloway's remains and prosecuting a case without them would be 'very hard.'

Fire at Egyptian university kills three students

CAIRO, Egypt - Three students were killed and dozens injured Saturday when a fire broke out inside a university campus building in Egypt's Nile Delta, police and hospital officials said.

The blaze erupted in a lecture hall at Al-Azhar University in the Delta town of Zagazig, sending hundreds of students fleeing in panic, said a police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Classes at many Egyptian universities convene on Saturdays.

Afghan operation leaves 14 dead

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A NATO and Afghan operation to retake a Taliban-controlled town in southern Afghanistan has killed at least 12 Taliban fighters and two children, the Afghan Defense Ministry said Saturday.

In other Afghanistan violence, a NATO soldier was killed and another wounded in an explosion Saturday.