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Cuba executes two convicted of murder in escape attempt

A firing squad in Cuba has executed two men who were convicted of killing four policemen in an unsuccessful bid to escape the communist-ruled island, state Radio Rebelde said Thursday. The policemen were slain Jan. 9 at a boathouse at Tarara, nine miles east of Havana. Luis Miguel Almeida Perez, 24, and Rene Salmeron Mendoza, 22, were executed Wednesday, the radio said. They led an attempt by a group of Cubans to steal a launch to flee to the United States. Four men and three women convicted with them on piracy and murder charges received prison sentences of four to 30 years.

Pakistan says it can make bomb

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan _ The government said on Thursday that Pakistan has the capability to make a nuclear bomb. But Deputy Foreign Minister Siddique Kanju said the nation would use its capabilities only to help make South Asia a nuclear weapons-free zone. His statements before Parliament appeared to be part of a diplomatic offensive to ease U.S. misgivings about Pakistan's nuclear intentions. In October 1990, Washington halted $500-million in economic and military aid because it doubted Pakistan was was gearing its nuclear program solely toward nuclear energy production. Washington said it would not continue aid unless Pakistan rolled back its program.

Ruling party wins in Punjab

CHANDIGARH, India _ India's ruling Congress Party won control of Punjab on Thursday after the state's Sikh majority boycotted elections. Congress took 61 of the first 83 seats declared for the 117-seat state assembly in Wednesday's elections. The party also was set to win 12 of Punjab's 13 parliamentary seats, giving Prime Minister Narasimha Rao a working majority just in time to push through an Indian budget with controversial economic measures. Punjab has been without an elected government since 1987, when federal rule was imposed because of violence by Sikh militants who want to create an independent nation there.

Report: Iraqi abuses abundant

GENEVA _ Violations of human rights by the present Iraqi regime are so widespread that few parallels can be found since World War II, said a U.N. official who visited Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia last month. The report to the U.N. Human Rights Commission on Thursday listed executions, detention of political and religious opponents, disappearances, and the routine use of torture to extract confessions. The official urged the United Nations to send human rights monitors to Iraq. Baghdad rejected the report, saying it was part of the West's propaganda campaign against Iraq.

U.N. announces Cambodia plan

UNITED NATIONS _ Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali disclosed plans on Thursday for a peacekeeping operation in Cambodia of about 22,000 foreign staff to virtually run the country. The operation includes 16,000 military, 3,600 police monitors and about 750 civilians for administration. Another 1,400 will assist in elections along with an estimated 56,000 Cambodians. The effort, the largest, most complex in U.N. history, will cost close to $2-billion over 18 months.