World Briefs: Pakistan crash kills dozens

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KARACHI, Pakistan -- At least 42 people were killed Sunday morning in southern Pakistan after a bus slammed into a tractor-trailer in one of the worst traffic accidents in this country in recent years, officials and rescue workers said.

Some of injured blamed the bus driver for reckless driving and held him responsible for the crash. The driver tried to pass another vehicle on a narrow road but ran into the trailer, passengers said.

Pakistan has one of the world's worst records for fatal traffic crashes. Tahir Khan, superintendent of the National Highway and Motorway Police, said that every year, 12,000 to 15,000 people die in traffic accidents in Pakistan, mainly because of poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.

Algerian convoy ambushed

ALGIERS, Algeria -- Islamist insurgents ambushed an Algerian military convoy in a mountainous region, killing 11 soldiers and wounding five others, the Defense Ministry said Sunday.

But five other deaths from injuries reported by a hospital official could raise the toll to 16 in the attack that came two days after Algeria's presidential election.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but suspicion falls on al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, whose fighters are holed up in the Kabylie region, some 60 miles from the capital.

The soldiers were returning from securing polling stations for last Thursday's presidential election, which the government said was won in a landslide by the 77-year-old incumbent, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Iran set to redesign plant

TEHRAN -- Iran has "virtually resolved" its dispute with world powers over the planned Arak nuclear plant that could produce weapons material, the chairman of Iran's nuclear agency told a state news agency.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's nuclear program, told the official Al Alam news channel Saturday that Iran agreed to redesign the Arak plant, about 150 miles southwest of Tehran, to produce far less plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons.

Mr. Salehi said the 80 percent reduction in plutonium production capability at Arak had been "welcomed" by the six countries engaged in talks with Iran about its nuclear program: the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Abdullah retains lead

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah retained his lead in the race to succeed Hamid Karzai, after the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan announced partial results with about half of all votes counted.

The results indicate a possible runoff between Mr. Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a former World Bank official. Afghanistan's constitution requires such a step if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of all votes cast.

French journalists home

PARIS -- Four French journalists kidnapped and held for 10 months in Syria returned home Sunday to joyful families, a presidential welcome and questions about how France managed to obtain their freedom Saturday from Islamic extremists.

Syria is considered the world's most dangerous assignment for journalists. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in April that 61 journalists were kidnapped in Syria in 2013, while more than 60 have been killed since the conflict began in 2011.


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