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Congolese rebels, army clash at edge of key city

congo

rebels, army clash at edge of city

Heavy shelling and gunfire Monday broke a tense standoff between rebels on the outskirts of the eastern Congolese city of Goma and government soldiers backed by U.N. troops who were hunkered down inside.

The Congolese government rejected an ultimatum made by rebels Sunday night to withdraw from Goma and accused Rwanda, which a U.N. panel has said has links to the March 23 rebels, of sending two battalions over the border into Congo to fight on their behalf.

Rwanda has called the accusations "absolutely false" and said it was "exercising restraint as of now," according to a military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita.

The capture of one of the largest cities in eastern Congo could drag the giant Central African nation back into war.

Colombia

Cease-fire statement by rebels is ignored

Colombia's main rebel group announced a unilateral cease-fire on Monday as it began peace talks, but the Bogota government responded that it would continue military operations.

Top rebel negotiator Ivan Marquez said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia would halt all acts of sabotage and attacks against government and private property through Jan. 20. He made the announcement as negotiators for both sides began the peace talks in Havana.

INDIANAPOLIS

Home explosion now homicide investigation

Authorities launched a homicide investigation Monday into the house explosion that killed two people and left numerous homes uninhabitable in an Indianapolis neighborhood.

Indianapolis Homeland Security director Gary Coons made the announcement after meeting with residents affected by the Nov. 10 blast and just hours after a funeral for the husband and wife who were killed.

Authorities did not indicate if investigators had any suspects.

China

Another Tibetan sets self on fire in protest

A Tibetan died after setting himself on fire to protest Chinese rule, a rights group said Monday.

The Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said a 24-year-old man set fire to himself Saturday in front of a government building in Zeku county in western China's Qinghai province.

Dozens of ethnic Tibetans have self-immolated since March 2011. Activists say a recent increase in protests is apparently aimed at sending a message to China's new communist leadership, named last week.

Elsewhere

SEATTLE: Rain and wind pounded Washington state and Oregon on Monday, snarling the commute and causing road closures and power outages. One person killed by a falling tree.

Chile: The remains of Salvador Allende's vice president, Jose Toha, were reburied Monday in Santiago after an official autopsy that found he was murdered and did not commit suicide nearly four decades ago. He was taken prisoner during the Sept. 11, 1973, coup that toppled Allende.

Times wires

Congolese rebels, army clash at edge of key city

11/19/12 [Last modified: Monday, November 19, 2012 10:28pm]

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