Nazi archive will be opened

AMSTERDAM - Copies of documents from a secret Nazi archive, locked up in a quiet German town for more than 50 years, will be released to Holocaust institutions within a few months under an agreement reached yesterday.

The documents will give historians an intimate view of the systematic slaughter of millions during the Holocaust, and will let survivors and victims' families search for histories - as recorded by their tormentors.

The 11-nation governing body of the International Tracing Service, which runs the archive in Bad Arolsen, Germany, voted to sidestep legal obstacles and begin distributing electronic copies of the documents to member states as soon as they are ready.

The archive contains Nazi records on the arrest, transportation, incarceration, forced labor and deaths of millions of people from 1933 to the end of the war in May 1945. - AP

Pollution turning Taj Mahal yellow

NEW DELHI - The Taj Mahal is getting dirty, and some want to get it even dirtier.

The 17th-century mausoleum is renowned for the paleness of its marble, but these days it looks more yellow than white.

A report Monday by a parliamentary panel blamed air pollution, saying the Taj Mahal was encrusted with "suspended particulate matter," or granules of dirt and soot found in high levels in the air around the site in the city of Agra.

To restore the monument, the panel recommended packing it in mud, a process used on the Taj Mahal in the past. - AP

Chirac tells French to remain united

PARIS - Jacques Chirac, in his final presidential appeal to the French, urged his compatriots yesterday to stay united and proud of the nation he led for 12 years, despite uncertainty about France's place in today's world.

"A nation is a family. This link that unites us is our most precious asset," Chirac said in a brief televised address last night, before the 74-year-old turns over the presidency to fellow conservative Nicolas Sarkozy today.

He said France should be a nation of equal opportunity and an engine of European integration. Both appeals recalled low points of his tenure: the 2005 riots that revealed deep-rooted discrimination against France's immigrants, and the French rejection of the EU constitution that Chirac had championed.

He is expected to create a foundation, similar to former President Bill Clinton's. - AP

Elsewhere:

China's robust oil trade and growing economic ties with Sudan will help end the violence in Darfur, not prolong the humanitarian crisis, a Chinese official said yesterday.

Three armed men hijacked a regional bus yesterday in northern Italy and set it on fire after freeing the passengers, officials said. Two hijackers were caught.

A Spanish anesthesiologist with hepatitis C was sentenced to prison yesterday for infecting 275 people with the virus by injecting them with morphine from the same needles he used to feed his own addiction.