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New rains add to misery for waterlogged Asia

New rains threatened parts of Asia on Friday, just as much of the region was struggling to clean up from several weeks of devastating floods that killed at least 949 people and left millions homeless.

Forecasters said seasonal monsoon rains are likely to continue for much of August in Southeast Asia.

In the Philippines, periodic strong rain forced rescuers to interrupt their search for 43 people still missing in the rubble of a housing project toppled Tuesday by a monsoon-triggered landslide.

"We believe it's still possible to find survivors," said Gen. Nestor Castillo, supervisor of the rescue effort.

Search teams had recovered 32 bodies from the hillside townhouses in Antipolo City, east of Manila, bringing to 92 the number of people confirmed dead in four days of torrential rains in the central Philippines.

Israel sets peace timetable

JERUSALEM _ Israeli negotiators told their Palestinian counterparts that they hope to agree on the broad outlines of a permanent peace accord by February, a senior aide to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said.

Once the outline was completed, Israel would carry out the last phase of the long-overdue Wye River land-for-security agreement, said the aide, Tayeb Abdel Rahim, in offering the most detailed description yet of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's proposal.

In a statement issued Friday after a weekly session, the Palestinian Cabinet flatly rejected Barak's plan to enter into final status talks, insisting that the Wye agreement be implemented immediately and take no longer than three weeks to complete.

IRA denies gun plot

DUBLIN, Ireland _ The Irish Republican Army denied Friday that it was involved in an alleged attempt to smuggle guns from the United States to Ireland.

Four people have been charged in the United States with involvement in mailing guns and ammunition to addresses in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

In a statement to Republican News, the weekly newspaper of the IRA and its allied Sinn Fein political party, the IRA said it had investigated claims that it was involved in the alleged smuggling.

"The Army Council has not sanctioned any arms importation operation," the IRA said in a statement, reported Friday by RTE, Ireland's State broadcasting service.

Anthony Smyth, 42, and Conor Claxton, 26, both from Northern Ireland, pleaded innocent to smuggling charges Thursday before U.S. District Judge Barry Seltzer in Fort Lauderdale.

Another defendant, Siobhan Browne, 34, an Irish citizen, appeared in court Thursday but put off entering a plea until Tuesday. A fourth co-defendant, Belfast native Martin Mullan, was denied bail at a hearing Thursday in Philadelphia.

The prisoners in Florida were charged with conspiring to export firearms without a license and using the postal service to illegally export handguns.