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China to resettle 330,000 people

BEIJING - Authorities have started resettling 330,000 people in central China to make way for a massive project to divert water hundreds of miles to the booming cities in its arid north, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday.

The $62 billion water diversion could be nearly three times as expensive as the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric project. When completed, its three routes will move huge amounts of water from China's central, southern and western regions through pipes and canals to Beijing and other northern cities.

People in Hubei and Henan provinces are being relocated from their homes near the Danjiangkou reservoir, where a sluice will be built to divert water from the Yangtze river and its tributaries, Xinhua said.

Critics have warned the water diversion will cause environmental damage and some villagers said officials had forced them to sign agreements to relocate. - AP

Blast in Baghdad leaves five dead

BAGHDAD - A bomb attached to a motorcycle exploded yesterday near a popular cafe in a largely Sunni district of Baghdad killing five people, Iraqi police said.

The blast in Baghdad's Azamiyah district also wounded 16 civilians, an officer at the al-Risafa police station said. Officials at two hospitals that received the wounded said most of the injured were young men. The policeman and hospital officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Baghdad's northern Azamiyah district was a Sunni stronghold during sectarian violence in the Iraqi capital in 2006 and 2007. As in other parts of the city, violence has eased considerably since then and residents have resumed going to sidewalk cafes and riverside restaurants.

Attacks have not halted entirely, however, and militants still strike mosques, markets and symbols of state authority with deadly force. - AP

Shoot-out kills 7 in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Gunmen opened fire into a bar in northern Puerto Rico and killed at least seven people, injuring 20, police said yesterday. A prosecutor said a battle over drug traffic might have prompted the attack.

A 9-year-old girl and a pregnant woman who lost her eight-month-old fetus after being shot were among those seriously wounded, said Police Col. Jose Morales.

"The way these killings were carried out suggests . . . a struggle to control the traffic of controlled substances," said prosecutor Wanda Vazquez, who is investigating the case.

At least two armed men began shooting late Saturday as they entered La Tombola bar, which had reopened that night under new ownership, Morales said. Several people who were at the bar returned fire and the shooting continued outside before the gunmen fled in a car, he said.

- AP


Botswana's governing party, which has been in power for more than four decades, once again swept parliamentary elections that regional observers deemed free and fair, the southern African country's independent electoral commission announced.

Two al-Qaeda militants killed in a recent shoot-out sneaked into Saudi Arabia from Yemen and had planned a massive attack, a Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman said. He said six Yemeni accomplices who were coordinating with the two militants - Youssef al-Shihri and Raed al-Harbi - were arrested.