Egypt: Slide death toll rises

CAIRO — Hopes diminished Sunday for finding survivors among hundreds of people believed trapped beneath massive boulders that destroyed an impoverished neighborhood on Cairo's outskirts, killing at least 32 people, including whole extended families.

Anger and resentment mounted as authorities failed for a second day to get heavy machinery into the devastated shantytown to try to clear the large slabs that split away from the Muqattam cliffs early Saturday.

Egypt: Ex-defense minister dies

CAIRO — Abdel-Halim Abu Ghazala, Egypt's former defense minister and a veteran of Arab-Israeli wars who was once touted as a possible successor to President Hosni Mubarak, has died at age 78.

Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported that the former field marshal died late Saturday at a Cairo military hospital from complications related to throat cancer.

Abu Ghazala became minister of defense in 1981 shortly before the assassination of President Anwar Sadat during a military parade. Like Mubarak, Abu Ghazala was sitting next to Sadat when he was assassinated.

India: 50,000 refuse to leave

PATNA — At least 50,000 people in India have refused to abandon their homes in flood-ravaged northern Indian despite pleas by authorities to evacuate, an official said Sunday.

Newspaper advertisements also urged thousands of flood survivors Sunday to go to one of 77 state-run camps set up in Saharsa district in impoverished Bihar state, where clean drinking water, food and medical care was available.

Rescue workers have evacuated about 900,000 villagers, but with river levels falling by up to two feet over the last few days, thousands began to return to their homes, Amrit said.

Iraq: Deal for natural gas

BAGHDAD — Iraq's Cabinet approved an initial gas agreement Sunday between the Oil Ministry and Royal Dutch Shell to invest in a joint venture to tap natural gas in southern Iraq, a government statement said.

The agreement calls for establishing a joint venture between the state-run South Oil Co. and Shell to exploit the fields, the statement added without any other details.

Shell is expected to invest $3 billion to $4 billion over five years to gather at least 500 million cubic feet of flared gas per day from the southern fields.

Israel: Police back indictment

JERUSALEM — Israel's police recommended Sunday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should be indicted in a string of corruption cases, according to an official document.

The police statement said they want to indict Olmert in affairs that include receiving tens of thousands of dollars from a U.S. businessman and double-billing Jewish groups for trips abroad.

The police recommendation though would have only limited effect. The decision about whether to indict Olmert rests with the attorney general, Meni Mazuz.

Italy: Darfur aid endangered

ROME — A U.N. agency is threatening to suspend food distribution in Sudan's troubled Darfur region due to relentless attacks on its aid convoys.

The World Food Program says the bandits are hijacking the convoys and making it increasingly difficult to reach 3 million hungry people in the area.

The Rome-based agency says in a statement Sunday that more than 100 vehicles carrying WFP aid have been hijacked this year.