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GERMAN COMMUTER TRAINS HIT HEAD-ON, INJURING 82

Two trains filled with morning commuters and schoolchildren collided today in southern Germany, injuring 82 people, nine of them seriously, police said.

A student on board one of the trains traveling near the Austrian border said he and his brother could see a faster-moving train coming down the track at them.

"I got up and ran toward the back," said Felix Kling. But there was little the train driver could do to prevent the crash, he said.

German national railway officials said the head-on collision on a stretch of single track was apparently caused when one of the engineers overlooked a stop signal as he pulled out of a station in the village of Enzisweiler.

The oncoming train was traveling at a moderate speed and neither train derailed, although the cars were damaged enough that rescuers had to pry passengers from the wreckage, officials said.

Protestant militants hurt
33 officers in Ulster clash

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) -- A battle between police and militant Protestants injured 33 officers Wednesday, the Royal Ulster Constabulary said.

The injuries suffered by the predominantly Protestant police force were the latest in four months of sporadic rioting on the city's north side.

The battle started after police blocked a 300-strong crowd from marching toward Catholic homes in the nearby Ardoyne district, scene of many of last summer's clashes. Several hours of running battles with Protestant rioters ensued.

Police said suspected Protestant gunmen fired more than 50 rounds at police. Nobody was hit.

Police said most of the injured officers suffered burns, damaged eardrums or minor cuts from homemade grenades and bottles filled with gasoline. Police said they fired four live rounds and nine plastic bullets.

The rioters, believed to have been led by members of the outlawed Ulster Defense Association, also set fire to a bus and a car.

Albanian rebel chief says
his group has disbanded

SIPKOVICA, Macedonia (AP) -- The leader of Macedonia's ethnic Albanian rebels declared today that his group had formally disbanded, just hours after NATO wrapped up its mission collecting arms from the guerrillas in the troubled Balkan country.

Rebel leader Ali Ahmeti told reporters attending a news conference in the rebel stronghold of Sipkovica that he was dissolving the National Liberation Army and that it was time for ethnic reconciliation.

The rebel move came as NATO promised that a new 1,000-strong force would deploy quickly to help provide security in still tense Macedonia. "The operation is being organized with the speed of light," alliance spokesman, Mark Laity, said after an activation order was issued for the new mission overnight.

Macedonian and ethnic Albanian leaders signed a peace deal Aug. 13, suspending six months of warfare between the mainly Muslim rebels and government forces.

Under the peace plan, the rebels were to hand over weapons while the Macedonian-dominated parliament amended the country's constitution to grant broader rights for the minority.

Suicide bomber killed
in premature detonation

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- A suicide bomber died Wednesday when his explosive detonated prematurely as he and an associate prepared it in a cemetery, police said. His partner was critically injured.

The bomb went off as the two were setting it. The explosives were strapped to the bomber's belly, the Anatolia news agency said.

Private NTV television said the two were planning an attack marking the second anniversary of the killing of 10 leftist inmates in a riot at Ankara's Ulucanlar prison.

The explosion came two weeks after a banned Marxist group, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, carried out a suicide bombing near a busy Istanbul square.

Most expensive candy bar
costs $686, is 100 years old

LONDON (AP) -- A 100-year-old chocolate bar from one of the first major exploration expeditions into Antarctica has sold for $686 at a special "polar" auction.

The 4-inch chocolate bar was part of a 3,500-pound load of cocoa and chocolate that British explorer Capt. Robert F. Scott took on his 1901 to 1904 expedition.

Scott died in 1912 while returning from the South Pole. Norwegian Roald Amundsen became the first to reach the South Pole five weeks earlier, on Dec. 11, 1911.

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