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President's alliance loses seats in win

ALGIERS -- Supporters of Algeria's president lost seats but kept a majority in parliament, according to election results released yesterday. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's three-party alliance won 249 of the 389 seats in the lower house, 35 short of its previous count, in Thursday's balloting. About 36 percent of the voters took part, which Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said showed that parties were out of touch with the people. (AP)


Olympics-Darfur link is rejected
BEIJING -- China yesterday rejected growing criticism that it is not wielding its influence with Sudan to stop bloodshed in the Darfur region and said attempts to use the conflict to politicize Beijing's Olympic Games will fail. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China has blocked efforts to send UN peacekeepers to Darfur without Sudanese consent . (AP)

Dissident arrested before rights trip
BEIJING -- A prominent Chinese dissident said he and his wife were detained yesterday and put under house arrest as they were leaving for Europe to meet other activists to discuss China's human rights situation. Hu Jia said agents came to his house and stopped him and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, who is three months pregnant, from catching their flight. (AP)


Ex-candidate said chained by rebels
BOGOTA -- Former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt is being forced to sleep chained by her neck after trying to escape from her rebel captors five times, an escaped hostage told her relatives. President Alvaro Uribe yesterday ordered his military to intensify efforts to free Betancourt and three American military contractors being held by leftist rebels . (AP)