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Extradition is pursued in Bhopal liability case

NEW DELHI, India (AP) -- National officials called Monday for the government to extradite the former head of Union Carbide and pursue liability claims against Michigan-based Dow Chemical as part of a new push for justice in a 1984 toxic gas leak that killed 15,000 people, a Cabinet minister said.

Anger over the world's worst industrial disaster -- at a plant owned by a Union Carbide subsidiary in the central Indian city of Bhopal -- was revived this month after a court convicted seven former senior employees of the company's Indian subsidiary of "death by negligence" and sentenced them to two years in prison.

The report called for the government to renew its efforts to pursue the extradition from the United States of former Union Carbide chief Warren M. Anderson, who had been arrested and quickly released when he visited India soon after the tragedy, government officials said.

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Power losses incurred amid heat wave, storm

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Blistering summer temperatures coupled with a sandstorm caused power failures Monday in the western part of Saudi Arabia, as the area coped with a debilitating heat wave.

The skyrocketing demand for electricity to power air conditioners caused eight power turbines to go off-line, with several Saudi cities losing their power, said Saudi Electricity Co.

Temperatures in Saudi Arabia reached 124 degrees, several degrees above average. Last week, temperatures of up to 126 degrees pushed power stations in Kuwait to 99 percent of their production capacity of about 11,000 megawatts.

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22 Palestinian homes OK'd for demolition

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A Jerusalem planning body approved a proposal Monday to raze 22 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem to make room for an Israeli tourist center, a decision that could raise tensions in the divided city and deepen the conflict with the Obama administration.

Back in March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pressured Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to hold up the plan so authorities could consult with Palestinians who would lose their homes -- a delay that appeared to be aimed at fending off criticism from the United States.

"Now, after fine-tuning the plan and seeking more cooperation with the residents as far as their needs and improving the quality of their lives, the municipality is ready to submit the plans for the first stage of approval," Barkat's spokesman, Stephan Miller, said before the city's Planning Commission agreed to the proposal.

Palestinians hope to build the capital of a future state in East Jerusalem and see any Israeli construction there as undercutting their claims to the land.

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Van der Sloot mum; confession in doubt

LIMA, Peru (AP) -- Murder defendant Joran van der Sloot declined to speak to the Peruvian judge handling his case Monday, while a Dutch newspaper reported that he has retracted his confession.

Superior Court Judge Carlos Morales visited the 22-year-old Dutchman in the maximum-security prison in eastern Lima, where Van der Sloot has been held since being charged with first-degree murder in the May 30 killing of Stephany Flores.

But Van der Sloot would not talk, and his lawyer, Maximo Altez, contends that the confession is not valid because the defense attorney present when Van der Sloot made it was state-appointed.

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