DUSHANBE - Tajikistan's president decided Saturday to withdraw troops from parts of the capital after rebel shelling of the presidential palace drove the government into emergency talks with the militants.


BAGHDAD - Scores of Palestinian delegates traded blows and spat at each other Saturday as Iraq's deputy prime minister and vice president stared in helpless amazement.


OKINAWA - A fifth and final U.S. Marine was sentenced to prison on Saturday for killing a fellow Marine by dropping him out of a third-story barracks window during a drunken thrill-seeking game.

North Korea

Hungry North Koreans are collecting roots and leaves to supplement meager food aid as farmers prepare to plant spring crops, a Catholic aid group said Saturday.

Costa Rica

SAN JOSE - An 18-foot crocodile attacked and devoured a Costa Rican tourist after the man dived into a river to free a stuck fishing line, officials said Saturday.


SAO PAULO - Fifteen armed men stormed a jail in southeastern Brazil Saturday, freeing 24 inmates and killing a city traffic officer who was trying to flee, police said.


MADRID - Spanish authorities vowed on Saturday, a week after toxic waste poured from a mine reservoir, to stage a massive cleanup to prevent further damage from one of the country's worst ecological disasters.


NICOSIA - U.S. troubleshooter Richard Holbrooke plunged into intensive talks on the divided island of Cyprus on Saturday, trying to coax ethnic Greeks and Turks back to the negotiating table after months of stalemate.


BEIJING - Police have recovered stolen relics ranked as state treasures from shops at Dunhuang, the oasis town in northwest China famous for Buddhist art in the Mogao Caves, according to a report Saturday.


MOSCOW - A police unit has been set up in Russia's Far East to protect the dwindling population of Siberian tigers from poachers, a news agency reported Saturday.


ATHENS - Greece promised on Saturday it will move to stop television stations from stealing American programs and seek a quick settlement to a U.S. piracy complaint.


BOMBAY - Twenty-six members of an extremist Hindu group have been arrested for ransacking the house of a Muslim artist because of a nude painting of a Hindu goddess.


LAGOS - Soldiers and police commandos roamed the streets of southwestern city Saturday to ward off a repeat of mass rioting a day earlier that resulted in seven deaths.


COPENHAGEN - Employers agreed Saturday to begin formal negotiations on ending a 6-day-old nationwide strike and appeared ready to cede ground to unions.


TEGUCIGALPA - The airport at the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa remained shut Saturday for the third consecutive day due to thick smoke from raging forest fires, officials reported.