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Bomb package kills Paris worker

PARIS - A package bearing homemade bombs blew up yesterday in a lawyer's office on a tony boulevard in central Paris, killing the woman who opened it. The motive for the unusual attack remained unclear.

The building also housed an unrelated law firm co-founded by President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as a Holocaust research foundation, although officials said they did not appear to be targeted.

The office secretary opened the package that contained two homemade bombs, killing her and seriously injuring a lawyer. The package appeared to have been addressed to the law firm, which handles civil and commercial cases, Prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin said. An official close to the investigation said the bombing did not bear the hallmarks of Islamic or Corsican terrorists.

- AP

Militants get life in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines - Fourteen al-Qaeda-linked militants were sentenced to life in prison yesterday for kidnapping a U.S. missionary couple and 18 others, beginning a yearlong jungle ordeal that prompted U.S.-backed offensives against the guerrillas.

Missionary Gracia Burnham survived, but her husband, Martin, was killed during a military rescue in 2002. Another U.S. captive, Guillermo Sobero of California, had been beheaded earlier by the Abu Sayyaf rebels.

Most of the top leaders of the Abu Sayyaf, which orchestrated the abductions at a resort island, have been killed in clashes since the trial opened in 2003. Philippine officials credited the U.S. counterterrorism training that started in 2002 for many of the battlefield successes. Burnham, of Wichita, Kan., returned to the Philippines in 2004 to testify against her captors.

- AP

China mine blast kills 70, traps 26

BEIJING - A gas blast at a mine in northern China killed at least 70 people yesterday, with 26 others still trapped, state media reported.

An additional 15 miners were rescued or managed to escape after the explosion at the Rui Zhiyuan coal mine in Hongtong county in coal-rich Shanxi province, the Xinhua news agency reported.

State Administration for Work Safety said the mine was properly licensed, was owned by the local government, and had an annual output capacity of 210,000 tons of coal. It said the mine's managers were being questioned by police.

- AP

Elsewhere: .

A Russian court

ordered the release of Andrei Novikov, a reporter committed to a psychiatric hospital for nine months after writing articles critical of the military campaign in Chechnya, the watchdog Reporters Without Borders said.

Police broke up

a major tigerpoaching ring in northern India, arresting an alleged kingpin and 15 others, police said. The killing of tigers for their pelts and body parts to supply the Chinese traditional-medicine market, police say, is a main factor in the sharp decline in wild tigers.