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Bomb attack in Kosovo kills 7 Serbs on bus, injures 40

PODUJEVO, Yugoslavia (AP) -- A remote-control bomb ripped apart a bus carrying Serb families into Kosovo today, killing at least seven people and injuring 40 others in one of the worst attacks since the end of the Kosovo war.

The Serb families, escorted by NATO peacekeepers, were on a pilgrimage to visit the graves of their ancestors when the bomb was detonated -- just after two armored personnel carriers full of Swedish troops passed safely over the device.

The blast went off soon after the bus, coming from the city of Nis in Serbia, crossed into Kosovo and passed Podujevo, an Albanian-majority town.

The bus company that chartered the vehicle to the Serbs said they were en route to Gracanica. The families -- Kosovo Serbs who had left the province fearing ethnic Albanian attack -- were planning to visit graves of relatives Saturday, the Orthodox Day of the Dead celebration.

NATO officials said peacekeepers deactivated six other remote-control bombs today near the southwestern Serb enclave of Strpce that apparently were meant to target Serb convoys.

Quake-racked El Salvador pleads for aid to rebuild

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) -- Rebuilding the thousands of homes, highways, churches and buildings destroyed by two devastating earthquakes within a month will cost El Salvador more than $2.8 billion, the government said.

As authorities sent out a global plea for help, they also made a special request Thursday to the United States to grant Salvadorans living there "temporary protected status" -- special congressional approval that would allow illegal Salvadoran immigrants to avoid deportation and legal ones to extend their stays.

Salvadorans working abroad send money home to support families, and the economy would have difficulty absorbing their return.

El Salvador was struck Jan. 13 by a magnitude-7.6 earthquake that killed at least 844 people. Officials estimated damage from that quake at $1.3 billion.

Officials said they expected another $1.5 billion in damage from a 6.6-magnitude quake that hit several central provinces Tuesday, killing at least 322.

They said the second quake has been substantially bigger in terms of damage because a lot more public infrastructure was affected.

Conjoined twin girls separated in surgery

MADRID, Spain (AP) -- A team of 50 specialists succeeded in separating 21-month-old twin girls joined from the lower back down, the lead neurosurgeon said Thursday.

Moroccan-born twins Fatima and Amina Agunin were separated Wednesday in Madrid's La Paz Hospital. After the 12-hour operation, the two girls underwent another five hours of surgery to reconstruct their genital and urinary systems, which they had shared. They had also shared a pair of legs.

Dr. Juan Tovar said the girls were in stable condition Thursday and making progress.

"It all ended as expected, although the operation was very difficult," Tovar said in a news conference accompanied by the rest of the specialists.

"If they had continued together, they would always have to be lying down, either on their back or face down without being able to get up," Tovar said.

Each of the twins has been left with one leg and one kidney, but Tovar was optimistic they would be able to live a more normal life and may even be able to give birth.

Canadian court wants assurance on extradition

TORONTO (AP) -- The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that two Canadians accused of a triple murder in the United States can only be extradited with a guarantee they won't be put to death.

In a 9-0 ruling, Canada's highest court left open the possibility of extradition in cases that could bring the death penalty.

It said, however, the case involving Atif Rafay and Glen Sebastian Burns failed to meet the exceptional circumstances that would allow them to be sent to the United States without a guarantee against their execution.

"Such assurances are constitutionally required in all but exceptional cases," the court ruling said.

The case now goes to Justice Minister Anne McLellan, who must seek assurances of no death penalty from Washington state before proceeding with the extradition of Rafay and Burns.

Now in their mid-20s, the two are wanted in the slayings of Rafay's father, mother and sister. The two were arrested in Vancouver in 1995 and have been in custody there since then.

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