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Palestinians to get some U.S. aid

A senior U.S. diplomat told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday that the Bush administration would provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians even after the radical Islamic group Hamas forms a cabinet in the coming weeks.

“We continue to be devoted to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people, and we shall remain so,” C. David Welch, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

But Palestinian officials who met with Welch, the most senior U.S. official to visit the West Bank since Hamas victory in parliamentary elections last month, said the pledge did not guarantee the continuation of U.S. development funds.

The United States provided more than $400 million in development aid to the Palestinian territories last year.

San Juan de Sabinas, Mexico

Mine company rules out survivors

Toxic gas levels inside a northern Mexican coal mine are too high for any of the 65 miners trapped inside to have survived an explosion nearly a week ago, the mining company said Saturday.

The government and scientists previously said there was little hope any of those missing would be found alive. But a new analysis of underground air showed it was too poisonous to breathe, said Javier Garcia, a spokesman for mine owner Grupo Mexico SA de CV.

Teams of experts drilled holes into the mine Saturday to release toxic gases, and a team of foreign experts – including 10 officials from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration – helped to analyze the results.

Dublin, Ireland

Parade riots hospitalize 14

Several hundred Irish Republican Army supporters attacked police in Dublin on Saturday to protest an unprecedented parade through the capital by Protestants from Northern Ireland.

In scenes rare for the Republic of Ireland, protesters hurled bottles, bricks, concrete blocks and fireworks at police officers trying to clear the hostile crowd from Dublin’s most famous boulevard, O’Connell Street.

Even though the Protestants abandoned their parade, the battles spread to streets near the national parliament and museums, as well as a shopping center and the major tourist district, Temple Bar.

Ireland’s national police force said 14 people – six officers and eight civilians, including rioters and a journalist – were hospitalized, mostly with head wounds. More than a dozen other people suffered less serious injuries.

Officers in full riot gear – helmets, shields, clubs and flame-retardant suits – arrested at least 37 protesters as a police surveillance plane circled overhead.


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