World briefs: Syrian Kurds flee to Iraq

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BAGHDAD -- Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds swarmed across a bridge into neighboring Iraq's northern self-ruled Kurdish region over the past few days in one of the biggest waves of refugees since the rebellion against President Bashar Assad began, U.N. officials said Monday.

The sudden exodus of around 30,000 Syrians amid the summer heat has created desperate conditions and left aid agencies and the regional government struggling to accommodate them. The mostly Kurdish men, women and children who made the trek join some 1.9 million Syrians who already have found refuge abroad.

The U.N. said the reason for this flow, which began five days ago and continued unabated Monday, is unclear. But Kurdish areas in northeastern Syria have been engulfed by fighting in recent months between Kurdish militias and Islamic extremist rebel factions with links to al-Qaida. Dozens have been killed.

Train kills Hindu pilgrims

NEW DELHI -- A high-speed train plowed into a crowd of Hindu pilgrims who were crossing the tracks at a remote station in east India on Monday, killing dozens of people and leaving a scene of carnage.

An enraged crowd dragged out the driver and began beating him, and set parts of the train on fire.

The station was a remote one -- inaccessible by road -- and the high-speed Rajya Rani Express typically barrels through without stopping at a speed of around 50 miles an hour. Railway officials said the driver had been given clearance to pass through.

Floods kill dozens in China

BEIJING -- At least 83 people have been killed in recent days in floods and landslides in three different parts of China, according to reports Monday by Xinhua, the state news agency.

The greatest death toll was in Liaoning province, in northeast China; at least 54 people had died by Monday morning and 97 were missing from the worst flooding in decades in the area around Fushun City, Xinhua reported.

Japan pressed on trade

TOKYO -- U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Monday urged Japan to open its market to American cars and insurance companies, which would pave the way for a broader regional free trade agreement.

Mr. Froman said that imported vehicles make up a tiny fraction of the Japanese market, although nearly half the U.S. auto market is controlled by foreign manufacturers.

32 dead in Afghan clashes

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Battles between the Taliban and an Afghan security company left 32 people dead over the weekend, officials said Monday, as the country marked its 94th independence day from Britain with a small military parade and folk festivals in the capital.

A spokesman for the provincial governor of western Farah province, said 11 members of the Afghan Public Protection Force and 21 insurgents were killed Sunday in a two separate gun battles.

Also in the world ...

The European Commission said Monday it hopes Britain and Spain will be able to resolve their latest dispute over Gibraltar by themselves, but warned that Spanish threats to impose a border tax would be illegal. ... As Mexican children trooped back to school on Monday, they were handed new government-provided books that were riddled with errors. Officials acknowledged it found them only after 235 million elementary textbooks were being printed.

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