Faster train links Russia, Finland

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - The president of Finland and the prime minister of Russia zipped along Sunday on a new high-speed train linking Helsinki and St. Petersburg, among the first passengers to use it.

The French-built train, with a top speed of 135 m.p.h., cuts the travel time between the two cities to three and a half hours. The 250-mile trip used to take more than six hours.

Finnish President Tarja Halonen was among 200 people who boarded the train in Helsinki. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hopped on in the Russian border town of Vyborg for the final leg.

"It was super. It was very fast. We didn't even have enough time to talk," Putin told reporters on arriving in St. Petersburg. - AP

Wage riot erupts in Bangladesh

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh - Garment workers demanding implementation of a new minimum wage of $45 a month clashed with police in an industrial zone in southeastern Bangladesh Sunday, leaving 100 people hurt and, according to a news report that police did not confirm, three dead.

Police official Reza Al Hasan said authorities opened fire and used tear gas after thousands of workers attacked factories in the Chittagong Export Processing Zone. The zone houses 70 foreign companies that manufacture garments, shoes, and bicycles, and employ 150,000.

Officials said the clashes involved a South Korean company, YoungOne, which suspended operations at its 13 factories late Saturday after workers attacked its facilities.

- AP

Suicide attacks kill 15 in Iraq

BAGHDAD - Suicide attacks on Sunday struck a government compound in the Sunni heartland of western Iraq and a Shiite procession northeast of Baghdad. A third such bombing appeared to have been averted north of Baghdad when security forces in Balad shot and wounded the driver of a pickup truck packed with explosives.

The attacks, which killed at least 15 and wounded dozens, appeared to be the work of Islamic State of Iraq, a group supported by al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Unlike other recent attacks inside Baghdad, including a concentrated assault on Nov. 2 that killed 68 people, the latest bombings occurred in a belt of cities arcing around the capital.

- N.Y. Times News Service

Elsewhere:

Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin wrapped up a two-day visit to Haiti Sunday after touring cholera treatment centers set up by her host, the Rev. Franklin Graham, head of a religious relief group that operates in the country. She urged Americans "not to forget Haiti."