Cuba: U.S. envoys aiding dissidents

HAVANA - Cuba has proof that U.S. officials on the island are delivering private funds to political dissidents to undermine the communist government, two Cuban officials said yesterday.

Although Cuba has accused U.S. officials of funneling funds to dissidents before - a claim Washington has denied - yesterday's accusation is the first to suggest U.S. diplomats are acting as couriers to deliver privately donated cash, outside Washington's auditing oversight.

Josefina Vidal Ferreira, director of the Foreign Ministry's North American Department, and Manuel Hevia Frasquieri, director of Cuban State Security's Historic Investigations Center, made the accusation in an interview ahead of a detailed accusation they plan today.

They said a "noted terrorist of Cuban origin living in U.S. territory" provided the funds. An official from the U.S. State Department's U.S. Interests Section in Havana declined to comment yesterday.

- AP

Bomb kills 11 in Pakistan market

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A suicide bomber killed 11 people and wounded 22 at a market close to an army base in the North-West Frontier Province yesterday, local officials said, just days before the government was expected to complete a peace deal with Taliban militants.

The blast, at a bakery during the busy evening shopping hour, occurred near the gate of the base in the city of Mardan. The attack was the first major suicide bombing in Pakistan since a coalition government took office at the end of March. The television station Dawn said a local Taliban group had claimed responsibility for the bombing.

There was speculation the bombing was an act of revenge for a U.S. missile attack on militants in the tribal agency of Bajaur last week, in which Pakistani officials said 14 people were killed.

- N.Y. Times News Service

Hezbollah rejects Pakistan demand

DOHA, Qatar - Lebanese leaders from the U.S.-backed government and the Iranian-backed militant Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group, meeting in talks in Qatar, remained deadlocked yesterday over a key government demand, that the group disarm.

The rival groups are meeting under the sponsorship of the 22-member Arab League.

"The government tried to bring up the issue of Hezbollah's weapons, and this issue is not on the agenda," Mohammed Raad, a member of the Shiite Muslim group, told reporters in Doha yesterday.

The factions are also trying to agree on a new president, electoral law and national unity cabinet to resolve the nation's political crisis, which led last week to the worst fighting since its 1975-1990 civil war.

- Bloomberg News

Elsewhere:

The U.S. military in Naples,

Italy, is sampling tap water and soil for pollutants because of worries that tons of uncollected garbage pose a health risk for its 1,800 personnel based in the city, a spokeswoman said.