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3 FEARED DEAD, 200 HURT IN ALGERIAN AFTERSHOCK

Algerian and French rescuers with search dogs hunted today for survivors in a collapsed apartment block after a powerful aftershock rocked Algeria and injured more than 200 people. At least three were feared dead.

The 15-story building in Reghaia had been the pride of the town east of the capital Algiers before it was damaged and evacuated following an earthquake last Wednesday that killed at least 2,218 people and injured 9,497 others.

Tuesday evening, three of the building's displaced residents were inside recovering belongings when it collapsed in a magnitude-5.8 aftershock, according to an Interior Ministry official.

The aftershock also collapsed at least one home in the quake-ravaged town of Boumerdes, state radio said. In one Algiers hotel, panicked visitors ran out of the building.

Copter crash near Everest claims at least 2 lives

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- A helicopter flying near Mount Everest with nine passengers and crew crashed today at a base camp for climbers, airport officials said.

Officials said two Nepalese were killed. A British Broadcasting Corp. correspondent at the scene reported three deaths.

Huge pieces of the aircraft flew into the air as it attempted to land in the shadow of Everest. The cause of the crash was not known.

The pilot of the Russian-built helicopter owned by Simrik Air, a domestic company, was among the injured. He and another person were in critical condition and were flown to the Nepalese capital, Katmandu.

Hundreds of climbers and their team members are in the Mount Everest region to mark the 50th anniversary of the conquest of the world's highest mountain in 1953 by New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

Tuesday, Hillary, 83, and other Mount Everest pioneers suggested that the world's tallest peak deserves a break from a half-century of more than 1,300 climbers scaling its slopes.

"I have suggested to the Nepal government that they should stop giving permission and give the mountain a rest for a few years," Hillary said.

Other veteran climbers suggested limiting the number of expeditions, which turn into traffic jams on the fixed ropes and ladders that cross the icy ridges.

Nepalese officials said they have no immediate plans to close down the mountain.

U.S. citizen, New Zealander held as China alleges plot

BEIJING (AP) -- China's government accused two pro-democracy activists from the United States and New Zealand on Tuesday of plotting terrorist attacks -- an allegation denied by a prominent U.S.-based dissident.

Authorities arrested U.S. citizen Benjamin Lan and Sun Gang of New Zealand after they arrived in Beijing this month on what dissidents said was a mission to promote democracy.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said they were thought to be involved in "some violent terrorist acts" at the instigation of an unspecified "hostile organization" abroad.

Lan and Sun are members of the China Federation Foundation, a recently formed pro-democracy group based in California.

Peng Ming, a prominent U.S.-based dissident and a member of the group, said Lan and Sun were to conduct "propaganda work" to promote democracy.

He said they also were to investigate China's outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The two had planned to set up a branch of their group in Beijing and to publicize the organization but had no intention of committing any violence," Peng said in a telephone interview from San Francisco.

Coalition in Pakistan region seeks Quran-based regime

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- Months after sweeping to power amid a surge of anti-American sentiment, a coalition of Islamic parties Tuesday proposed laws to make this conservative frontier region the first in Pakistan to form a government based on the mandates of the Quran, Islam's holy book.

The effort to bring Shariah to the North West Frontier Province, a deeply conservative area that borders Afghanistan and is believed by intelligence officials to be a possible hiding place for al-Qaida terrorist network leader Osama bin Laden and fellow fugitives, was expected to cause concern in Washington.

It also marked a new challenge to the secular government of Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, a key U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism.

Sheik Rashid Ahmed, federal information minister, said the government was reviewing the legislation and considered parts of it problematic.

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