Leaders consider old peace plan

Israeli leaders are seriously considering a dormant 2002 Saudi plan offering a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Arab world in exchange for lands captured during the 1967 war, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday.

Barak said it may be time to pursue an overall peace deal for the region because individual negotiations with Syria and the Palestinians have made little progress.

Barak said he has discussed the Saudi plan with Prime Minister-designate Tzipi Livni, who is in the process of forming a new government, and that Israel is considering a response. Barak, who leads the Labor party, is expected to play a senior role in the next government.


Hand, foot, mouth disease hits China

Hand, foot and mouth disease has killed three children and sickened about 110 others in eastern China, state media reported.

The official Xinhua News Agency said late Sunday that all the cases were reported in Jian’ou city of Fujian province from Oct. 1 to Oct. 17.

Citing a provincial health official, Xinhua said the children who died from the infectious disease were under a year old and came from different towns. Twenty-two of the infected children were still hospitalized for treatment, the report said.

The provincial government has sent eight epidemic prevention experts to the city to help local medical staff conduct citywide checks on children, Xinhua said.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is common in young children and is characterized by fever, mouth sores and a rash with blisters. It is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool of infected persons. It is not related to foot and mouth disease, which infects cattle, sheep and swine.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan

Militants stop bus, slaughter civilians

Taliban militants stopped a bus traveling on Afghanistan’s main highway through a dangerous part of the south, seized about 50 people on board and killed about 30 of them, officials said Sunday.

A Taliban spokesman took responsibility for the attack but claimed to have killed 27 Afghan soldiers. Afghan officials said that no soldiers were aboard and that all the victims were civilians. Insurgents stopped the bus in a Taliban-controlled area about 40 miles west of Kandahar, said provincial police chief Matiullah Khan.

He said that two buses had been traveling together and that the militants had tried to stop the first one but failed. He said the insurgents fired at the first bus, killing a child on board.

Officials offered varying death tolls from the attack, which occurred Thursday in an area where government forces cannot travel safely without heavy military protection.

Khan said authorities had arrested four Taliban commanders in the attack.

From wire reports


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