Jamaican suspect elusive; toll is 73

KINGSTON, Jamaica - The violence sparked by attempts to arrest a suspected drug kingpin wanted for extradition to the United States left 73 people dead and 26 injured, Jamaican authorities said Thursday.

The death toll was dramatically higher than the 44 civilians that government officials said Wednesday had died in four days of unrest.

Residents of the Tivoli Gardens slum - the epicenter of fighting between security forces and gangs loyal to alleged drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke - described terrifying days of gunfire that has had them sleeping on floors inside their barricaded homes. Many also talked of aggressive police searches.

Coke, whom the United States considers one of the world's most dangerous drug traffickers, remained at large.

- McClatchy Newspapers

A Russian rebuke for Ahmadinejad

MOSCOW - A top Russian official on Thursday dismissed criticism from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as "emotional," and expressed frustration over what he portrayed as Tehran's obstinate refusal to confront suspicions over its nuclear program.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lashed back against Ahmadinejad, who a day earlier described the Kremlin as a potential enemy that was susceptible to pressures from the international community.

Ahmadinejad accused Russian President Dmitry A. Medvedev of bending to U.S. pressure to pass new U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

"Russia has never been manipulated by anyone. It has always been guided by national interests," Lavrov told reporters. He said Iran's response to Russian attempts to help it end the nuclear impasse had been "unsatisfactory." - Los Angeles Times

Britain to scrap national ID card

LONDON - Britain's new government announced Thursday that its first major legislation would be a bill to scrap a controversial and costly plan to introduce a national identification card.

Home Secretary Theresa May told reporters that there was "a liberties argument for not enforcing" the plan and that the government would save $1 billion over 10 years by canceling the cards and a corresponding registry.

The cards were first proposed in 2002 by the then-ruling Labor Party as part of efforts to fight fraud, crime, and illegal immigration.

After years of parliamentary debate, political argument, and public protests, they became obligatory for foreign nationals in 2008 and optional for British citizens at a cost of $45 per person in November. - Los Angeles Times

Elsewhere:

A Colombian model accused of luring young Argentine women into smuggling cocaine to Mexico declared her innocence before an Argentine judge. Angie Sanclemente Valencia, 30, was detained Wednesday in a fashionable Buenos Aires neighborhood where she was living under a false identity.

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.2 rattled the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu early Friday, briefly triggering a tsunami watch, officials said. There were no immediate reports of damage.