Thousands protest in Kashmir after transfer of land

SRINAGAR, India - Tens of thousands of Kashmiris filled the streets for a fourth day of protests Thursday after police killings during earlier demonstrations enflamed their anger over the transfer of land to a Hindu shrine in this Muslim-majority region.

Protesters clashed with riot police in several parts of Srinagar, the main city of India's portion of Kashmir. Police responded to rock-throwers by firing live ammunition and tear gas into the air in an attempt to disperse the mobs, said police officer Sajjad Ahmed.

More than 20,000 people were protesting in towns across the Himalayan state, Ahmed said, and thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers were spread out to control the angry mobs.

More intimidation tactics expected in Zimbabwe runoff

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's one-candidate presidential runoff is already a footnote, with the world looking beyond today's electoral charade to how longtime leader Robert Mugabe can be pushed toward real democracy.

Mugabe - who at the 11th hour told a campaign rally Thursday he was willing to talk to the opposition - is expected to orchestrate a mass turnout, with anyone who tries to stay home subject to attack.

Nigeria joined the chorus of nations in Africa and the West calling for the vote to be postponed, saying Thursday it was doubtful a credible election could be held. It said an observer mission for a West Africa bloc led by a former Nigerian leader had been recalled from Zimbabwe.

Bombings kill dozens, 3 Marines

BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber attacked a meeting of pro-government Sunni sheiks west of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 23 people, including three U.S. Marines. At least 18 more people died in a car bombing in the northern city of Mosul.

Both attacks happened in Sunni Arab areas where al-Qaida in Iraq has been active. They appeared to be part of a campaign by both Sunni and Shiite extremists to undermine U.S. efforts to shore up local administrations and secure the security gains achieved since early last year.

The target of the Mosul blast appeared to be the provincial governor, who was near the explosion but escaped injury.

Administration lifts North Korea trade sanctions

WASHINGTON - After months of stalling, North Korea offered a glimpse of its secretive nuclear program Thursday and was promptly rewarded by President Bush with an easing of trade sanctions and a move to take the communist state off the U.S. terrorism blacklist.

Bush, who once famously branded North Korea a part of his 'axis of evil,' offered mostly symbolic concessions in exchange for Kim Jong Il's agreement to hand over a long-awaited accounting of its nuclear bomb-making abilities. Critics said even symbolism was too much give to a regime that can't be trusted.

Rocket hits Israel, second violation of Gaza truce

JERUSALEM - Gaza militants fired two rockets into southern Israel on Thursday, further straining a shaky, week-old truce as Israel kept vital Gaza border crossings closed in response.

The rocket attack, the second since the cease-fire took effect, led to a call for retaliation by Israel's Foreign Minister while Palestinians charged that the continued closure of crossings violated terms of the cease-fire.

US Embassy in London owes unpaid road tolls

LONDON - The U.S. Embassy in London has failed to pay more than $3.9 million in traffic congestion charges, according to figures published Thursday by Britain's foreign ministry.

British lawmakers condemned U.S. diplomats, after they topped a list of embassies refusing to pay the charge.

The list of fees owed by embassies showed that the United States refused to pay the levy 23,188 times between February 2003 and last month.

Afghan blast kills 3 coalition members

KABUL, Afghanistan - The U.S.-led coalition said an attack in Afghanistan has killed three servicemembers.

The military said the attack in Wardak - one province south of Kabul - destroyed a military vehicle and also killed an Afghan interpreter.

The coalition said two of the killed servicemembers were recovered on site while 'two sets of remains were located in a nearby field.'