WORLD NEWS IN BRIEF: Dutch trains collide; Troops battle al-Qaida in Yemen

Saturday, April 21, 2012 | 5:58 p.m. CDT
French Ambassador Gerard Araud speaks after members of the Security Council of United Nations voted unanimously to adopt the Syria Observer Mission Resolution authorizing 300 observers to be sent to Syria, Saturday.

Dutch trains collide; dozens injured

AMSTERDAM — Two busy passenger trains collided head-on near an Amsterdam park Saturday, injuring scores of people including more than 50 seriously, a police spokesman said.

National Police Corps spokesman Ed Kraszewski told Amsterdam local news network AT5 that some 70 people had minor injuries and 51 were "seriously or very seriously injured." He said the victims sustained broken bones and neck injuries.

Fleets of ambulances ferried injured away from the scene.

AT5 posted photos on its website showing two trains that appeared to have collided head-on. Both trains were still on the rails, and the double-decker intercity train sustained damage near some doors close to the impact.

Yemeni troops battle al-Qaida militants in south

SANAA, Yemen — Yemen's military regained part of a strategic southern city on Saturday after an intense battle with al-Qaida militants left 19 people dead as the government tries to purge the insurgents from their strongholds, officials said.

The battle in Zinjibar is part of attempts by the Yemeni government to regain parts of the country it lost to al-Qaida militants who took advantage of last year's chaotic uprising against longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh to seize new ground.

Military and medical officials said that 12 militants and seven troops died and nearly 30 militants were injured during the battle with Yemeni forces, who took control of the eastern part of Zinjibar.

Afghan official: Explosives seized, attack stopped

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan security forces have arrested five militants with 22,000 pounds of explosives that they smuggled in from Pakistan to carry out a massive attack in Kabul, as well as another three suspects allegedly planning to assassinate the vice president, an official said Saturday.

The reports of new planned attacks in the Afghan capital came a week after militants said to be part of the Pakistan-based Haqqani group launched coordinated assaults in the heart of Kabul and in three other cities.

U.S. officials say they have stepped up pressure on Islamabad to crack down on the Haqqanis, who specializes in high-profile strikes against well-protected targets.

Three of the five men arrested with the explosives were members of the Pakistani Taliban, while the other two belonged to the Afghan Taliban, National Director for Security spokesman Shafiqullah Tahiry told reporters.

UN authorizes 300 Syria cease-fire observers

UNITED NATIONS — The Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday expanding the number of U.N. cease-fire observers in Syria from 30 to 300 and demanding an immediate halt to the violence that has been escalating since the government and opposition agreed to end hostilities more than a week ago.

The resolution is the first authorizing unarmed U.N. military observers to go into a conflict area, and it gives Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon authority to decide when to deploy the additional monitors, based on developments on the ground including "the consolidation of the cease-fire."

Ban accused Syrian President Bashar Assad on Thursday of failing to honor the cease-fire. In a statement Saturday from his spokesman welcoming adoption of the resolution, the U.N. chief again demanded that Syria end all violence and "the gross violations of the fundamental rights of the Syrian people" and send its troops and heavy weapons back to their barracks.

The resolution establishes a United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria "comprising an initial deployment of up to 300 unarmed military observers as well as an appropriate civilian component" for an initial period of 90 days.

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