Korean candidate faces fraud probe

SEOUL, South Korea - What had seemed to be a one-horse race for South Korea's presidential election turned less predictable yesterday as parliament voted to probe fraud allegations against Lee Myung Bak, the front-runner and candidate of the opposition Grand National Party.

South Koreans have rallied behind him because many are tired of two successive liberal governments or believe that Lee, a former star executive at the Hyundai conglomerate, could help revive the economy.

The parliamentary move came a day after a video surfaced of a university lecture Lee gave in 2000, in which he appears to be claiming he founded an investment company now at the center of stock-manipulation charges.

- N.Y. Times News Service

Suicide blast kills Pakistani soldiers

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A suicide bomber walked up to a sports field used by the Pakistani army yesterday and detonated explosives, killing at least 12 soldiers, military officials said. Four soldiers were wounded in the attack in Kohat, a garrison town in North-West Frontier province, military officials said.

The soldiers were leaving the field after playing a soccer match when the bomber approached on foot, news agencies quoted a military spokesman as saying.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but the Pakistani army has been battling extremists in the tribal areas straddling the border with Afghanistan, and in the Swat district of North-West Frontier province.

- N.Y. Times News Service

Mexican rebel set to withdraw again

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's famed masked rebel, Subcomandante Marcos, says he is withdrawing again to the shadows, ending nearly two years of public appearances meant to bolster a grass-roots leftist movement.

Marcos became the voice of the Zapatista National Liberation Army as it burst out of the jungles of southern Mexico on Jan. 1, 1994, to seize several cities in the name of Indian rights. He has vanished before from public view for years, returning to barnstorm around Mexico to promote the Zapatista views.

"This is the last time, at least for a good while, that we will come out for activities of this type," Marcos said Sunday in the southern state of Chiapas.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Early results

in Kyrgyzstan's parliamentary elections put President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's party on track to sweep all 90 legislative seats. The politically restless nation, which has been rocked by mass protests in recent years, hosts a U.S. air base.

Uruguay's last military

dictator, Gregorio Alvarez, was charged with the forced disappearance of political prisoners and sent to a military prison. Alvarez, 82, a retired army general, led Uruguay from 1982 until 1985, shortly before the restoration of democracy there.

China will change

its national holiday schedule to ease overcrowding on transport systems, often swamped when many of the country's 1.3 billion people try to travel at the same time.