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World Briefing - 2002-09-12

In Chile, police used tear gas and water cannon Sunday to disperse protesters during a march to commemorate victims of political repression during the rule of General Augusto Pinochet. General Pinochet came to power on September 11th, 1973, in a military coup that overthrew the government of leftist President Salvador Allende. An estimated three thousand people were killed during General Pinochet’s rule, mostly for political reasons.

Colombian authorities say fierce fighting between army troops and the nation’s largest leftist rebel force has left at least 40 people dead. Violence involving the rebel group known as FARC has intensified since February, when peace talks with the government of then-President Andres Pastrana broke down. Colombia has been mired in civil war for the past 38 years. The Bush administration on Monday approved nearly 42 million dollars in military aid for Colombia.

Officials in Nepal are considering re-imposing a state of emergency after Maoist rebels killed more than 100 soldiers and policemen during a two-day attack in the eastern and western parts of the country. Since 1996, when Maoists launched their campaign to overthrow Nepal’s constitutional monarchy, more than four thousand people have been killed in the Himalayan nation.

In Thailand floods fed by monsoon rains in the northern part of the country have killed at least 39 people and damaged more than 150,000 homes. The Thai government says floods have affected more than three-quarters of a million people in at least 45 of the country’s 76 provinces. Monsoon rains hit parts of Thailand every year, but were particularly severe last year, when 70 people died.

Tens of thousands of Sri Lankans have rallied in support of government peace talks with Tamil rebels that are set to begin next Monday in Thailand. The peace talks are seen as the best chance to end Sri Lanka’s 19-year civil war, during which more than 60-thousand people have been killed.

In the Afghan capital security was tight as tens of thousands gathered inside Kabul’s stadium to mark the anniversary of the assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Masood.

Finally, in India railway officials say at least 25 people were killed and scores of others were injured late Monday, when an express train derailed on a bridge over a river in eastern Bihar state.