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Friday, November 07, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
The $4.6 billion reactor project is the centerpiece of a now nearly moribund 1994 agreement under which the international community promised North Korea energy assistance in return for a freeze of its nuclear program. The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, or KEDO, as the international consortium is known, has built 2,000 modern apartments for workers, restaurants, gymnasiums, tennis courts and an indoor swimming pool. There are also about 90 pieces of heavy construction equipment and about 100 cars.
North Korea said yesterday that it would not permit the consortium to "take out all the equipment, facilities, materials and technical documents ... until this issue is settled."
The international consortium's board members representatives of the United States, South Korea, Japan and the European Union decided at meetings Monday and Tuesday in New York to suspend construction for one year. The Bush administration says North Korea admitted in October 2002 it violated the 1994 deal by running a uranium-based weapons program.
Soldiers kill four Palestinians in series of confrontations
GAZA STRIP Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinians in separate incidents in the Gaza Strip today, Palestinian medics and witnesses said.
One Palestinian was killed near Israel's boundary with Gaza after five mortar shells were fired at Jewish settlements. No one was hurt in the mortar attack.
In the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, where the second Palestinian was killed, military sources said soldiers opened fire on two gunmen leaving the refugee camp who they suspected of planning an attack on a nearby Jewish settlement. Last month, a Palestinian gunman infiltrated a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip and killed three soldiers.
In the West Bank, Israeli soldiers fired at a taxi circumventing a roadblock, killing a passenger, Palestinians said.
Also, in the West Bank city of Nablus, a 38-year-old woman was killed on her balcony during a gunbattle between Israeli soldiers and gunmen.
U.S. not liable to pay Iran for attacks on oil platforms
The U.S. doesn't need to pay damages because the countries had suspended trade relations at the time, said presiding Judge Shi Jiuyong of China, reading the decision by a panel of 16 judges from around the world.
The first oil platform was destroyed by the U.S. Navy on Oct. 19, 1987, in retaliation for an Iranian missile strike on a U.S.-flagged oil tanker that injured 18 crewmen. The United States destroyed two more platforms on April 18, 1988, after a sea mine in the Persian Gulf injured 10 crewmen aboard a U.S. frigate.
The United States argued the actions were in self-defense. It filed a counterclaim for damages.
Twenty-one people killed in India as unions battle over jobs
CALCUTTA, India Workers burned down a house, killing 21 people from a rival trade union in a battle over jobs at an Indian tea estate yesterday, police said.
Authorities arrested 110 people after the violence, which began when one of the unions was prevented from appointing three of its supporters to clerical jobs at the farm in West Bengal state.
Tea farms are popular tourist attractions and provide employment to thousands of people in West Bengal and neighboring Bihar state. However, dozens of small and medium-size tea estates have closed in the past six months because of disputes over higher wages and job security.
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