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Official says US policy to blame for war threat

UNITED NATIONS -- North Korea has reprocessed the enriched uranium from 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods and used it for weapons to serve as a deterrent against a possible nuclear strike by the United States, a North Korean minister said yesterday. Warning that the danger of war on the Korean peninsula ''is snowballing," Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon blamed the United States for intensifying threats to attack the communist nation and destroying the basis for negotiations to resolve the dispute over Pyongyang's nuclear program. Choe said North Korea has been left with ''no other option but to possess a nuclear deterrent." (AP)

United Arab Emirates

Eight dead in Dubai in accident at airport

DUBAI -- A crane smashed into a wall during construction of an unfinished terminal at Dubai's airport yesterday, and witnesses reported at least eight workers were killed. Workers said they saw up to 40 injured people being taken away, but the toll could not be immediately confirmed. Airport spokeswoman Lavina Dixit Chatterjee issued a lower toll, saying five workers were killed and 12 were injured. Two Dubai hospitals said they had received a total of 22 injured workers, including nine in serious condition. At least eight people were killed at the scene and some died in the hospital, an official said. (AP)

Lebanon

Seized Qaeda suspect dies of heart attack

BEIRUT -- The alleged top Al Qaeda operative in Lebanon who was captured in a security operation that broke up a terrorist network died of a heart attack yesterday, hospital and security officials said. Ismail Mohammed al-Khatib was hospitalized in the morning after suffering a cardiac arrest, but died from a second attack in the afternoon, said officials from Bahanes Hospital, 18 miles outside Beirut. Lebanese security officials also confirmed Khatib died after undergoing the heart attacks. (AP)

China

Times researcher held; US seeks information

WASHINGTON -- The State Department is seeking clarification from China about the status of Zhao Yan, a New York Times researcher who reportedly was arrested in Shanghai on charges of passing state secrets to foreigners. ''We are concerned about this case and its implications for journalists working in China," deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said yesterday. ''We have raised it both in China, through our embassy to the foreign ministry, and here in Washington to the Chinese Embassy." US officials are expressing concern for Zhao's welfare and telling Chinese officials that a free press is needed for development of a free society, Ereli said. (AP)

Laos

US seeks probe of massacre report

WASHINGTON -- The State Department said yesterday it is taking seriously allegations that Laotian military forces may have massacred children of the country's Hmong ethnic minority. Deputy spokesman Adam Ereli urged the Laotian government to investigate the reports. (AP)

Russia

Joint effort with Israel planned in terror fight

MOSCOW -- Russian and Israeli officials are planning joint training courses for antiterror troops, Russian news agencies said yesterday, as part of widening cooperation between the two countries in response to devastating terror attacks in Russia. The announcement was made after a meeting between Russia's Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's security adviser, Giora Eiland. The contacts coincide with Vladimir Putin's revamping of Russia's antiterrorism capabilities after several attacks, including a school seizure by separatists that left 330 dead and the explosions of two Russian passenger jets. (AP)

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