Blast in Afghanistan kills 3 coalition soldiers

KABUL, Afghanistan: A roadside bomb killed three soldiers from the U.S-led coalition in western Afghanistan, while 18 Taliban fighters died in clashes elsewhere in the country, officials said yesterday. The bomb that struck the U.S. coalition vehicle Wednesday also wounded another coalition member, the U.S. military said in a statement. In the southern Kandahar province, a bomb placed on a donkey hit a police vehicle patrolling west of the provincial capital, killing an officer and wounding two other people, said Officer Sadullah Khan.


NASA attempts fix on Hubble backup

WASHINGTON: NASA is trying again to wake up the sleeping science computer on the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble hasn't been able to take pictures since late September because its computer couldn't collect and transmit photos. NASA tried to wake up a backup system last week but ran into new problems that shut the computer down again. Engineers switched on Hubble's science computer yesterday in a process that will take more than a day. If it works, Hubble should begin taking pictures tomorrow and sending them down to Earth.


HIV scare leads to testing at Mo. school

NORMANDY, Mo.: Students at a suburban St. Louis high school headed to the gymnasium for HIV testing this week after an infected person told health officials that as many as 50 teenagers might have been exposed to the virus that causes AIDS. Officials refused to give details on who the person was or how the students at Normandy High School might have been exposed.

Iran, Venezuela press OPEC to slash output

VIENNA, Austria: Iran and Venezuela urged OPEC yesterday to quickly slash output and stem a steep slide in prices that has left crude at its cheapest in 15 months - and some member countries scrambling to balance their books. But OPEC's power to raise prices by cutting supply might be fading amid a global economic crisis that has evaporated demand for oil. The latest weekly report from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that demand has fallen in 38 of the past 42 weeks.

Chinese dissident wins human rights award

STRASBOURG, France: Chinese dissident Hu Jia was awarded Europe's top human rights prize yesterday in a pointed rebuke of China's ruling Communist Party. Hu, 35, was chosen by the European Parliament as this year's recipient of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, despite a warning from Beijing that his selection would seriously harm relations with the EU. Last year, Hu testified via video link before a hearing of the European Parliament about China's human rights situation. Weeks later, he was jailed and later sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for subversion based on his critical writings about Communist Party rule.