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World Briefing - 2002-10-30

World Briefing 10-30-02

Jordan has toughened up security throughout the country as it hunts for the killer of Laurence Foley, the senior U.S. diplomat assassinated Monday outside his home in the capital, Amman. Mr. Foley was an administrator with the U.S. Agency for International Development, which handles economic and humanitarian aid and promotes democracy abroad. He was the first U.S. diplomat ever to be slain in Jordan.

Ivory Coast government officials are in the capital of Togo for peace talks with rebel negotiators, who arrived Sunday. The talks will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides since an uprising began six weeks ago. The rebels are demanding the resignation of Ivory Coast’s president.

Vietnamese officials say a large fire at a commercial building in downtown Ho Chi Minh City has killed at least 54 people. The officials say the blaze erupted Tuesday at the six-story International Trading Center, which houses foreign companies, restaurants and a popular disco. At least 50 people who were injured in the blaze have been taken to the hospital. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

The U.S. federal government has filed criminal charges against one of the Washington D.C.-area sniper suspects. A 20-count criminal complaint was filed Monday against John Allen Muhammad. Mr. Muhammad’s alleged accomplice, 17-year-old John Lee Malvo does not face federal charges because he is a minor. Several counties in the states of Maryland and Virginia have already filed murder and other charges against the two suspects, after a string of sniper attacks in the Washington, D.C.-area this month left ten people dead and three others wounded.

An earthquake has rocked the Italian island of Sicily, causing no deaths but leaving hundreds homeless as nearby Mount Etna continues to spew lava and ash. Mount Etna began erupting on Sunday and streams of lava are still flowing down the mountainside. The volcano last erupted in 1992.