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Drug raid kills 7 Colombia police

BOGOTA, Colombia - Seven Colombian antidrug police were killed and at least 12 wounded in an attack by suspected guerrillas as they conducted a mission to destroy illegal coca crops and labs in northeast Colombia, authorities said Thursday.

The attack Wednesday night occurred in the rural Tibu area in North Santander province near the Venezuelan border, a zone known to be the center of coca crops and cocaine processing labs, antidrug police commander Luis Alberto Perez said.

Perez said members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, led the attack, which included crude homemade mortar shells and land mines. The police were accompanied by a civilian team of eradicators whose job is to uproot coca plants.

The police killed one guerrilla and captured five.

The eradication operation in recent weeks had resulted in the destruction of 1,500 acres of coca plants, 23 laboratories to process cocaine, and the seizure of one ton of cocaine in the area, Perez said.

- Los Angeles Times

Sick-out halts Indian flights

NEW DELHI - Hundreds of Air India pilots did not report to work Thursday, the fourth day of a sick-out to protest their treatment by management, a dispute that so far has resulted in the cancellation of numerous international flights and cost about 45 pilots their jobs.

Officials said the Mumbai-based airline was forced to cancel more than 35 international flights this week, including several bound for New York and Frankfurt, because of the protest. India's aviation minister called the sick-out illegal, the airline said it had fired some pilots, and a high court called for negotiations.

Separately, dozens of Kingfisher Airlines pilots called in sick to protest delays in salary pay, forcing that carrier to cancel some domestic flights.

The sick-out this week involves a contention by pilots who worked for Air India before a merger that they have sole rights to fly new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, rather than splitting the jobs with former Indian Airlines pilots as management ordered.

- Los Angeles Times

Smoke bombs slow rush hour

MONTREAL - Police said several smoke bombs were set off at multiple points in Montreal's subway system during morning rush hour Thursday, briefly cutting off service and creating a nightmarish morning commute.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest condemned the attack, saying he hopes the guilty parties are found.

Bombs were tossed onto the tracks at three stations along the transit network that connects neighborhoods in Canada's second-largest city, sending clouds of smoke billowing through stations at key transfer points. Most service was restored just after 10 a.m.

Police spokeswoman Marie-Elaine Ladouceur said officers were hunting for several suspects including one man and three women whose photos they received from witnesses.

The subway shutdown caused long lines at bus stops and increased traffic during a rainy morning. Some commuters resorted to hitchhiking along the city's boulevards; others hopped on bicycles for a wet ride to the office. - AP