Nepal: Search at fallen bridge
KATMANDU Hundreds of police, soldiers and villagers searched an icy river in western Nepal on Wednesday for more than 50 people believed missing after a steel footbridge collapsed. At least 16 people were confirmed dead and dozens more were injured, officials said.
The estimate of the missing was sharply reduced from the more than 100 whose whereabouts were unknown following the collapse.
Congo: Cease-fire declared
KINSHASA Congolese warlord Laurent Nkunda has declared a cease-fire ahead of peace talks with the government that are intended to end a spiraling conflict in the country's lawless east, said a close associate of Nkunda.
"We confirm that we have called a cease-fire. We will respect it. But we are also waiting for the government to do the same, as they have not yet done so," said Nkunda's second in command, Bwambale Kakolele.
Georgia: TV station goes off air
TBILISI Georgia's top television station suspended its broadcasts Wednesday, saying it was protesting the pressure authorities have exerted because of the station's links to a billionaire presidential contender challenging the government.
"Each of us and members of our families have been subjected to official pressure and blackmail," said Georgy Targamadze, the director of Imedi TV's political programs. "There are no security guarantees for our workers."
Nigeria: Pipe rupture kills 34
IGBAGBON A ruptured gasoline pipeline exploded in flames, killing at least 34 people near Nigeria's main city of Lagos as they tried to scoop fuel from the gushing leak, police said Wednesday. A witness said he saw 40 bodies.
The government blamed criminal gangs breaking into pipelines.
The explosion, on a line that carries imported gasoline from the Lagos port to inland depots, occurred Tuesday morning at Igbagbon, a village near Lagos.
N. Korea: N-disablement slowed
SEOUL, South Korea North Korea indicated Wednesday it will slow down the disablement of its nuclear facilities because of what it said was a delay in receiving economic aid under an international deal.
Economic compensation pledged by the United States, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia in return for disabling its nuclear facilities by the end of 2007 "is being delayed," said Hyon Hak Pong, vice director-general of North Korea's Foreign Ministry.
Russia: Spacecraft delivers gifts
MOSCOW (AP) An unmanned Russian cargo ship docked Wednesday at the international space station carrying two tons of supplies including holiday gifts, officials said.
The Progress M-62 brought honey, sweets, fruits and vegetables, drinking water, fuel, equipment, oxygen and Christmas and New Year's gifts for the crew U.S. astronauts Peggy Whitson and Daniel Tani and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, Russia's Mission Control spokesman Valery Lyndin said.
Venezuela: Accord on hostages
CARACAS Colombia agreed Wednesday to allow Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to send his planes and helicopters into its territory to pick up three hostages who have been held for years by leftist rebels.
Chavez said he hoped the hostages including a mother and her young son could be on Venezuelan soil by sundown today.
Colombia's largest rebel group announced last week that it would unilaterally hand over the three hostages to Chavez, demonstrating the guerrillas' affinity for the socialist leader.