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World in brief: Ex-officers urge Musharraf to quit

About 100 retired senior military officers issued a blunt open letter Tuesday exhorting President Pervez Musharraf to resign, as an attack on an army fort in a troubled tribal zone near Afghanistan left 37 Islamic militants dead.

The demand from the retired officers is the latest sign that Musharraf, who’s traveling in Europe to shore up his battered image, faces increasingly strong challenges to his rule. Musharraf shed his army uniform last month but relies on the military as a pillar of support.

The retired officers – including some two dozen army generals, three air force air marshals and eight naval admirals – signed the letter after a meeting at a hotel adjacent to the general headquarters of the Pakistan armed forces in nearby Rawalpindi. The letter said the officers voiced “great concern and anguish” during discussions about the “prevailing conditions” in the country.

Jakarta, Indonesia

Suharto’s condition growing worse

The health of former Indonesian dictator Suharto deteriorated today, with a potentially lethal infection spreading through his body, his doctors said.

Suharto, who brutally ruled the nation for 32 years until being toppled a decade ago, has developed digestive trouble and severe pneumonia.

Suharto, who was rushed to a hospital with anemia and a dangerously low heart rate Jan. 4, has suffered multiple organ failure and is on a ventilator, dialysis machine and is being fed through a tube.

Gaza City, Gaza Strip

Israel supplies power plant fuel

Israel sent fuel to Gaza’s power plant on Tuesday, easing its five-day blockade of the Palestinian territory amid growing international concern about a humanitarian crisis.

The lights were back on in most of Gaza City by Tuesday afternoon after a blackout that lasted almost two days. But Gazans still vented their anger.

Hundreds of Hamas supporters briefly broke through the Gaza-Egypt border and clashed with Egyptian riot police who fired in the air, injuring 70 people on both sides.

Hours later, masked Palestinian gunmen detonated explosives early today next to the wall at the Gaza-Egypt border, causing several holes in the barrier. On the other side, Egypt deployed troops to block any infiltration attempts from Gaza.

Israel and Egypt have banned most crossings in and out of Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in June.

Wellington, New Zealand

Half of beached pilot whales die

Fifteen pilot whales died in beach strandings Wednesday in southern New Zealand while rescuers refloated another 15 and monitored their progress toward safer waters, conservation officials said.

The whales, ranging from calves to 20-foot adults – were found beached at two locations on Farewell Spit on New Zealand’s South Island.

Scientists are unable to explain why whales beach, but some believe it is caused by disorientation in their sonar sounding systems.


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