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Pakistani, Indian troops shoot at Kashmir marchers

Pakistani troops fired into a group of Muslim militants Wednesday to halt their march on Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing at least 12 and injuring 150. In India, authorities said soldiers fired automatic rifles for about 20 minutes to halt an attempt by a separate group of 600 militants to slip across the border around midnight. They did not say whether there were any casualties. The marchers in Pakistan got within five miles of the disputed border before heavy rain forced them to stop and disperse. About 150 marchers were taken into custody and later released. Pakistan and India had taken steps to block the march before and after it started Tuesday, fearing the militants' attempt to cross the disputed border could touch off a new war over the only Muslim state in predominantly Hindu India. Kashmiri separatists have been waging a rebellion against India for two years.

Libya may provide evidence

UNITED NATIONS _ Facing international pressure and a threat of economic sanctions, Libya agreed Wednesday to provide evidence and witnesses in France's investigation of the 1989 explosion of a French airliner over Africa. But in a message released by the United Nations, Libya did not commit itself to meeting another demand, that it hand over suspects in the bombing of a jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. The United States responded by accusing Libya of trying to confuse the issue. France has charged four Libyans with the destruction of the jetliner in 1989, which left 170 people dead. The 1988 bombing of the New York-bound Pan Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie killed all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground.

BCCI figure faces extradition

DOUAI, France _ A French appeals court has approved the extradition to the United States of a former official of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, authorities said Wednesday. Seyed Ziauddin Ali Akbar, 47, until 1986 the director of BCCI's treasury operations, was arrested last September at a hotel in Calais for illegal entry into France. He is wanted on a Tampa indictment in connection with money laundering and drug trafficking. BCCI has pleaded guilty in the United States to tax fraud, racketeering and money laundering, and agreed to forfeit $550-million. In 1990, a BCCI subsidiary and five executives were convicted in Tampa of money laundering.

Treatment of Jews protested

NEW YORK _ A Jewish group said Wednesday it has complained to the United Nations Human Rights Commission about Syria's oppressive treatment of its 4,000 Jews. The World Jewish Congress said in a statement to the U.N. that Jews in Syria are not permitted to emigrate and even those permitted to travel outside the country "are requested to deposit large amounts of money as security for their return and must leave first-degree relatives behind as hostages." The WJC said the Syrian treatment of the Jewish community is a violation of obligations under international law.

Elsewhere ...

NEW YORK _ American and Russian scientists have started setting up camp aboard a 1.7-mile long ice floe that has become the first floating Antarctic research station, the U.S. project coordinator said Tuesday. The laboratory in the middle of the Weddell Sea will study the interaction of air, ice and the ocean in the Antarctic and their effect on world climate, said Arnold Gordon.

SANTIAGO, Chile _ Former East German leader Erich Honecker's health is failing after two months holed up in the Chilean Embassy in Moscow and he needs to be sent to hospital, a Chilean official said Wednesday. But Honecker _ wanted in Germany _ will not leave the embassy unless Russia agrees not to hand him over to any other country's authorities, the official said.

LOS ANGELES _ Some 2,000 teddy bears intended for sick children in Iraq are being held hostage at Los Angeles International Airport because of a U.N. embargo snafu. The cuddly toys, collected in a drive organized by a nurse, were seized by customs because they are not among the items allowed to be exported to Iraq under the terms of a United Nations trade embargo imposed over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.