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AROUND THE WORLD

After a week, doctor arrives to help Indian quake victims

KOTADI, India (AP) -- In a destroyed town near the Pakistani border, Dr. Anuvha Ghose treated the sick and injured Saturday, providing the first medical care the villagers have had since an earthquake devastated this corner of western India eight days ago.

While tending their wounds, Ghose, a CARE India staffer, also discovered a new problem: Nearly all the children she saw had respiratory infections -- a harbinger of a possible epidemic to come.

"Pneumonia is the leading cause of child death in India. We are afraid these children will develop severe pneumonia," Ghose said.

The international community -- including India's archrival, Pakistan -- has responded to the crushing quake with a massive aid effort. But amid complaints of delays because of a lack of organization, help is just starting to reach remote areas.

The quake severely affected 1,016 villages containing about 35 million people, plus eight urban towns, Gujarat's home minister, Haren Pandya, told a news conference in Ahmedabad. The death toll stands at 16,403 but was likely to jump Monday when workers clear the rubble and find more bodies, he said.

Man's transplanted hand is lost through neglect

LONDON (AP) -- Surgeons in Britain have amputated the hand of the world's first hand transplant patient after he failed to follow the correct treatment, a microsurgeon said Saturday.

Clint Hallam's transplanted hand was removed at his own request after his body rejected it, said microsurgeon Earl Owen.

"This was an inevitable thing to happen to Clint Hallam, because . . . it is now 2 1/2 years that he has kept a hand virtually without immunosuppression" and without keeping up his physiotherapy, Owen said in an interview with British Sky television.

Surgeons removed the hand during a short operation Friday night in a London hospital.

Owen was among an international team that transplanted the hand onto Hallam in a groundbreaking 13-hour operation in France in September 1998.

Hallam, a New Zealander, infuriated his medical team by regularly losing contact with them and refusing to follow drug treatment.

"This frustrated our attempts to treat him optimally, making it inevitable that irreversible rejection would intervene, necessitating an eventual amputation in the interests of his own health," Owen said.

Colombian leader will meet with rebels to save talks

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- President Andres Pastrana agreed Saturday to meet with the nation's top guerrilla leader this week and extended a guerrilla enclave in southern Colombia for at least four more days to save peace talks.

Pastrana said he will meet with Manuel Marulanda, the founder and leader of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, on Thursday somewhere inside the guerrilla's Switzerland-sized enclave, according to Pastrana's peace envoy, Camilo Gomez.

Gomez said the zone will be extended "for the time necessary to hold the meeting" but didn't set a new deadline.

Pastrana has been under pressure to either end the guerrilla enclave or secure a peace concession from the guerrillas.

It will be the third time Pastrana and Marulanda have met. The two are expected to discuss a prisoner exchange, right-wing paramilitary groups and Plan Colombia -- Pastrana's drug-fighting initiative, backed by $1.3 billion from Washington, that the rebel group says is a plan for war.

Dean at American University of Beirut quits post

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) -- A U.S. administrator at the American University of Beirut has quit his job after a 24-hour incommunicado stay with friends prompted the university to raise an alarm about his "unexplained disappearance," the university said Saturday.

The disappearance of Dean S. Kevlin, dean of student affairs, was reported Friday in a university statement that made local headlines and raised concerns he had been kidnapped. The university said Kevlin had not been seen or heard from since Thursday evening.

The case brought back memories of the Lebanese civil war of 1975 to 1990, when Muslim extremist groups kidnapped dozens of Westerners in Lebanon, including 17 Americans, and held them hostage for years. The American University was a frequent target.

Kevlin, 51, was found "safe and in good health," according to university officials, and has resigned from his position.

Germany holds oil executive who is wanted in France

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- An oil executive accused of harboring secrets about a web of corruption involving France's political establishment was arrested Saturday after arriving from the Philippines.

After three years on the run, Alfred Sirven was taken into custody at the Frankfurt airport. He had been nabbed in the Philippines on Friday and put on a flight to Europe, border police spokesman Klaus Ludwig said.

Sirven was ordered held, pending a decision on his extradition to France. Judge Eva-Maria Wagner said a decision was expected within the week.

Sirven, 74, is wanted as part of a trial that started two weeks ago with former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas at its center. Sirven is believed to hold the key to corruption involving the former French state-run oil giant Elf Aquitaine.

French judicial authorities claim Sirven played a crucial role in the misappropriation of $400 million in Elf funds, allegedly for kickbacks, commissions and a slush fund to pay out salaries to phony employees -- including Dumas' former mistress.

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