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Russian soldiers killed by rebels near Chechnya

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia : At least two Russian soldiers were killed and 10 others were wounded yesterday when rebels ambushed a military convoy in a volatile Russian province near Chechnya, officials said. The Russian Interior Ministry in the southern province of Ingushetia said about a dozen militants ambushed a military convoy on a forest road in the Sunzha region yesterday. It said in a statement that the attackers fired automatic weapons and grenades at military trucks, killing two soldiers and wounding others. An Interior Ministry officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media said that at least 10 soldiers were hospitalized. He said the attackers disabled two armored vehicles and two trucks before fleeing. Frequent raids by Islamic militants have destabilized Ingushetia, which neighbors Chechnya to the west, and other provinces in Russia's North Caucasus region.

Coalition talks at a standstill in Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday that he was still determined to reach a power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe despite the breakdown of talks between the two leaders. Four days of negotiations ended Friday without producing an agreement on the allocation of Cabinet posts in a unity government. "Our objective is to bring this government, Mugabe in particular, to the negotiating table ... shouting and screaming but coming to the negotiating table," Tsvangirai told thousands of supporters at a rally in the city of Bulawayo. The collapse of the talks is likely to worsen the country's economic and humanitarian woes. "The biggest challenge we have is what has been left in this country. There is nothing. Zero," Tsvangirai said. Talks were mediated by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who brokered a Sept. 15 deal between Mugabe and Tsvangirai after the opposition narrowly won March parliamentary elections.

3 people 'of interest' in kidnapping of boy, 6

LAS VEGAS : Authorities investigating the abduction of a 6-year-old boy from his Las Vegas home focused yesterday on three people, including a Mexican citizen and the youngster's grandfather, who they said might have stolen millions of dollars from drug dealers. The Mexican man, identified as Jesus Gastelum, is in his mid-30s and believed to be in Las Vegas or Southern California, police said at a news conference. The other "person of interest" was not identified. Authorities have arrested the grandfather of Cole Puffinburger, who was abducted Wednesday morning by two men posing as police officers. Police said they believe that the men were Mexican drug dealers and that the kidnapping at gunpoint was a "message" to the grandfather, Clemens Tinnemeyer, 51. Tinnemeyer was arrested late Friday in Riverside, Calif. He was being held in nearby San Bernardino, and authorities hope his arrest will help lead them to Cole's abductors. Detectives continue to investigate "a very strong network, all in very close proximity," Las Vegas police Capt. Vincent Cannito said yesterday.

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