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Huge WWII bomb defused in London

LONDON - Military engineers used a controlled explosion yesterday to safely destroy a giant, rusting World War II-era bomb that was discovered during construction for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the British army said.

The 2,000-pound German bomb, which the Metropolitan Police said was the largest found in London in three decades, was uncovered Monday in east London, authorities said.

Service on two nearby subway lines was suspended yesterday as a precaution while the bomb was being defused before the controlled explosion. Nazi planes dropped thousands of bombs on east London during World War II.

- AP

65,000 in Seoul rally against beef

SEOUL, South Korea - Speaking on the national memorial day, a contrite President Lee Myung Bak vowed yesterday to take a "humble attitude," and senior presidential aides offered to quit, while South Koreans intensified pressure on their government over an unpopular U.S. beef-import deal.

A crowd estimated by police at 65,000 rallied in central Seoul last night, the biggest protest so far over the beef issue. Some marched on a road leading to the presidential Blue House but were blocked by a barricade of police buses. There were no reports of clashes or arrests.

South Koreans have been taking to the streets for weeks to criticize Lee for his handling of an April agreement with Washington to restart imports of U.S. beef. Protesters say Lee has ignored concerns about mad cow disease, behaved arrogantly, and given in to U.S. demands.

- AP

Chavez war games use live missiles

LA ORCHILA, Venezuela - Venezuela fired live missiles from fighter jets and ships yesterday during exercises intended to demonstrate the firepower of President Hugo Chavez's military. Smoke rose from ships off the La Orchila island military base as Otomat MK2 missiles arced into the sky, and Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets flew in formation.

The televised war games allowed the military to showcase some of the hardware bought under Chavez, who says Venezuela's main threat is the United States. A U.S. Navy plane last month flew over the same Caribbean island base, drawing a diplomatic protest from Venezuela.

Defense Minister Gustavo Rangel Briceno commanded the troops during yesterday's exercises, ordering them to fire at mock "enemy units." It was the first time in 13 years such drills were held with live missile fire at sea, he said.

- AP


Colombia and Ecuador

said yesterday that they were restoring diplomatic ties at the charge d'affaires level following mediation by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Ecuador pulled its ambassador after a cross-border Colombian raid March 1 on a leftist rebel camp in which a senior Colombian guerrilla and 24 other people were killed.

Five European scuba divers

were missing yesterday after being swept away by currents off eastern Indonesia, police said. Three British divers and one each from France and Sweden were last seen plunging from their wooden boat Thursday.