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Earthquake rocks southwest Greece

ATHENS, Greece - A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.5 struck southwestern Greece yesterday, killing at least two people and injuring more than 100, authorities said.

The quake struck near the port city of Patras, about 120 miles west of Athens in the northwestern Peloponnese, the Athens Geodynamic Institute said. Greece is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries.

Local authorities said there were widespread reports of collapsed and severely damaged homes from the quake felt as far away as southern Italy. One man was killed by a falling roof in the Kato Ahaia area.

- AP

Two bombs kill 13 in Algeria

ALGIERS, Algeria - Two bombs in quick succession rocked a train station in Algeria yesterday, killing 13 people, including a French engineer and Algerian firefighters and soldiers who responded to the first blast, a security official said.

The first bomb killed a Frenchman working on a renovation project at the station in Beni Amrane, about 60 miles east of the capital, the security official said. The second bomb hit minutes later, as security officials and rescue workers arrived. Both devices appeared to have been remote-controlled.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Though Algeria has battled an Islamic insurgency for years, the number of attacks has risen dramatically since the country's main militant group vowed allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2006.

- AP

Chavez tells FARC rebels to give up

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged Colombian rebels yesterday to lay down their weapons, unilaterally free dozens of hostages, and end decades-long armed struggle against Colombia's government.

Chavez sent the uncharacteristically strong message to the leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, saying their ongoing efforts to overthrow Colombia's democratically elected government were unjustified.

Such declarations were unexpected from Chavez, a self-described socialist who earlier this year called on world governments to remove the FARC from terrorist lists and suggested the guerrillas should be recognized as a legitimate insurgent force.

- AP


Israeli Prime Minister

Ehud Olmert distanced himself yesterday from a cabinet minister's suggestion that Israel will be forced to attack Iran.

Tens of thousands

of people killed in last month's cyclone in Myanmar may never be identified because their bodies have decomposed so badly and many ended up far from home, the Red Cross said yesterday.

Thousands of demonstrators

fought police after a protest over flour rations in a town on Egypt's Mediterranean coast, a security official and state media said yesterday.