U.S. cultural center attacked 3 killed

NEW DELHI, India

Attackers opened fire at police officers guarding a U.S. government cultural center in Calcutta today, killing at least three people, police said.

Seven others including six police and a private security guard were wounded. No one was in the building when the shootout occurred, police officials said.

Police in Calcutta said an undetermined number of attackers fired at local police officers in front of the building, known as the American Center, at 6:30 a.m. then fled.

U.S. Embassy officials in New Delhi said there could be several casualties, but declined to give more details.

The American Center is a U.S. government building housing a library, a public affairs office and the press section, and a wing where cultural programs are held.

Police said there was no indication who the attackers were.

The attack comes slightly more than a month after an assault on the Indian Parliament that left 14 people dead. India blamed two Pakistan-based Islamic militant groups for the attack, which touched off a diplomatic clash that put India and Pakistan on a war footing.

Bush announces new federal scholarships

WASHINGTON

President Bush honored Martin Luther King Jr. yesterday by announcing the creation of new federal scholarships encouraging young people to study education and public policy.

Bush, who has said “education is the great civil rights issue of our time,” used the King holiday to renew his emphasis on improving schools. The administration also said it will propose increasing federal funding for colleges and universities that traditionally attract black and Hispanic students by $12 million over current levels.

The president nodded along as a quartet of students from Texas Southern University recited King”s “I Have a Dream” speech. King”s widow, his son, Martin Luther King III, and daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, presented Bush with a portrait of the slain civil rights leader. “I can”t wait to hang it,” Bush said.

Assassinated in 1968 at age 39, King would have turned 73 last Tuesday.

The King scholarships will go to “promising students all across America,” Bush said in the East Room to a crowd of some 200 administration officials, foreign ambassadors and civil rights leaders.

Accountants share blame for collapse

WASHINGTON

A fired auditor has told congressional investigators that Enron and its accounting firm share the blame for the partnership arrangements that helped drive the energy giant into bankruptcy.

Former Arthur Andersen auditor David Duncan “did not point the finger at Enron it was more of “we made mistakes,”” Rep. Jim Greenwood, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said yesterday.

Duncan “did not sit there and say “Enron hid all this information from us and therefore we couldn”t count right,”” said Greenwood (R-Pa.).

Fired over the destruction of thousands of Enron-related documents, Duncan underwent questioning by congressional investigators yesterday about Enron”s partnerships which for several years kept hundreds of millions of dollars of debt off the company”s books.

Lava causes blast at gas station 30 killed

GOMA, Congo

Lava touched off a massive explosion and a series of fireballs at a gas station yesterday, killing at least 30 people scavenging for fuel. Still, residents picked their way across hardening slabs of lava, returning home to this town demolished by a volcanic eruption.

With most of the tens of thousands who fled last week”s eruption already returned, a volcano expert declared the area reasonably safe despite continuing earth tremors. He said there were no indications Mount Nyiragongo would erupt again soon and that all lava flows had halted.

Residents scoured cooling tongues of lava for scorched sheets of corrugated iron to use as roofs for makeshift dwellings. Lava destroyed about 40 percent of the city at the head of Lake Kivu, but yesterday the streets once again teemed with people, and many shops were open.

Lindh to arrive in U.S. to face charges

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan

John Walker Lindh, the young American found fighting alongside the Taliban, will likely leave today for the United States, where he faces trial on charges of conspiring to kill fellow countrymen, U.S. officials said.

Lindh will be flown from the USS Bataan in the northern Arabian Sea where he has being held, the officials said on condition of anonymity. The officials would give few details, saying Lindh would stop somewhere in the region most likely at the U.S. base at the southern Afghan city of Kandahar before continuing on to his final destination.

U.S. government officials have said Lindh would be handed over to the Department of Justice and the federal court district in northern Virginia, where a Frenchman, Zacarias Moussaoui, is awaiting trial for alleged complicity in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

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