Nation/World Briefly: Don’t help break up Georgia, Bush appeals to Russia

CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush appealed to Russia’s president Monday to ignore the advice of lawmakers and refrain from recognizing Georgia’s breakaway regions as independent.

The move came as the White House announced Vice President Dick Cheney would visit Georgia early next month.

Both houses of the Russian parliament voted unanimously to urge Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to recognize the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent. Medvedev has said Moscow would support the choice of the people of the separatist regions.

Western countries warned Moscow that recognizing the breakaway regions of Georgia, an allied nation pressing for NATO membership, would prompt international denunciation.

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential hopeful, announced Monday that his wife, Cindy, was on her way to Georgia.

Mississippi: Immigration raid nets 350

Federal immigration agents said they rounded up 350 suspected undocumented workers in a raid on a Laurel electrical equipment plant, Howard Industries Inc., on Monday.

New Mexico: Eight inmates flee jail

Eight inmates, including a convicted murderer and another man charged with murder, escaped from a county jail Sunday in Clovis by cutting a hole in the roof, authorities said Monday. Two of the men were captured by Clovis police, but the other six remained at large and were considered dangerous, the sheriff said. The inmates apparently used handmade instruments to cut the hole in the roof near a skylight, the sheriff said. They gained access to the roof area by climbing up plumbing pipes.

Haiti: Tropical storm bears down on island

Haitians were told to prepare for evacuations as Tropical Storm Gustav formed quickly Monday in the Caribbean on a path to hit — as a hurricane — the country’s southern coast before moving on to Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida. Forecasters said Gustav’s center could pass near or over Haiti today. Meanwhile, the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay brought heavy rain and winds from Georgia to Louisiana, and Floridians were still mopping up floodwaters. In Mexico, Tropical Storm Julio weakened to a depression, dumping rain on the southern half of the Baja California peninsula Monday.

Sudan: Refugee camp attacked

Sudanese government forces attacked one of Darfur’s largest refugee camps at dawn Monday, killing up to 32 civilians, according to rebels and a witness in the camp. A Sudanese military spokesman said government troops were fired on first. The government said troops entered because of a persistent state of lawlessness in the camp and reports of huge arms shipments.

Pakistan: Ruling coalition crumbles

The ruling coalition that just a week ago drove U.S. ally Pervez Musharraf from the presidency broke apart Monday, throwing Pakistan into political turmoil over reinstatement of judges. Musharraf imposed emergency rule and purged the Supreme Court late last year to halt legal challenges to his continued rule. The collapse of the fragile alliance threw more power to Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of assassinated ex-leader Benazir Bhutto, who now becomes the front-runner to replace Musharraf.

Bomb wounds 20 or more at Pakistani political rally

Police said at least 20 people were wounded in a bomb blast at a political rally in southwestern Pakistan. Police official Nazir Ahmad said the bomb had been rigged to a motorcycle parked near the stage of the rally in the town of Jaaferabad. He said some of the injured were in critical condition. Ahmad said the injured belonged to the political party of Nawab Akbar Bugti, who died Aug. 26, 2007, when a cave in which he was hiding collapsed during a military operation against him in the southwestern Baluchistan province. Bugti was a former Baluchistan governor and had led a violent campaign to pressure the central government to give his impoverished province a larger share of money from oil and gas extracted from there.

France: Eight climbers found dead

French police found the bodies of eight climbers Monday after they went missing in an avalanche near Mont Blanc, western Europe’s highest peak, officials said. Four Germans, three Swiss and an Austrian were buried beneath up to 165 feet of ice.

From Herald news services

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