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Archive for Sunday, June 26, 2005

Briefly

June 26, 2005

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Colombia

Leftist rebels kill at least 25 soldiers

Leftist rebels killed at least 25 soldiers in separate clashes Saturday in Colombia, the worst death toll in a single day for the military since President Alvaro Uribe came to power three years ago on pledges of crushing the guerrillas. Another 18 soldiers were reported missing.

Fighting broke out in southwestern Putumayo state when as many as 300 rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, ambushed an army convoy during an attack targeting several nearby oil wells, said Gen. Carlos Lemus, inspector general of the army.

He said at least 19 soldiers were killed and 18 were missing during the battles near Puerto Asis, 330 miles southwest of Bogota. Putumayo is rich in oil and one of Colombia's main cocaine-producing centers.

"We were engaged in very heavy fighting at dawn and called in air support," Lemus said at a news conference. "The attack was directed against petroleum installations."

Spain

Car bomb explodes near stadium

A car bomb exploded Saturday near a Madrid stadium used to promote the city's bid to host the 2012 Olympics after a warning call by the Basque separatist group ETA, officials said. No injuries were reported.

The bomb went off about 7 p.m. at a parking lot outside the Peineta track and field complex, the Interior Ministry said.

The parking lot was nearly empty at the time and the blast, which came after a warning call made in ETA's name to the Basque daily newspaper Gara, caused little damage, the ministry said.

The group, whose initials stand for Basque Homeland and Freedom, wants independence for the three-province Basque region in northern Spain.

Cuba

Congressmen: conditions improving at Gitmo

Progress has been made to improve conditions and protect detainees' rights at the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists, House Republicans and Democrats, including one who has advocated closing the facility, said Saturday.

The U.S. lawmakers witnessed interrogations, toured cell blocks and ate the same lunch given to detainees on the first congressional visit to the prison for suspected terrorists since criticism of it intensified in the spring.

"The Guantanamo we saw today is not the Guantanamo we heard about a few years ago," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif.

Republicans and Democrats alike fear the prison at the U.S. Navy base in eastern Cuba is hurting the United States' image because of claims that interrogators have abused and tortured inmates. The White House and Pentagon say conditions are humane and detainees are well-treated.

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