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Gunmen Abduct Son of Slain Pakistani Governor

Pakistani authorities have launched a major operation to find the abducted son of a Pakistani governor assassinated earlier this year for opposing the country's controversial blasphemy law.

Witnesses say Shahbaz Taseer was abducted in Lahore's upscale Gulberg area early Friday, when kidnappers intercepted his car and took him away in their vehicle.

No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but relatives say the Taseer family has been receiving threats from extremist groups.

Deadly Car Bomb Targets UN in Nigerian Capital

A car bombing in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, has leveled part of a U.N. building and killed at least 18 people.

Witnesses say the explosion occurred late Friday morning when a car rammed through two gates and into the U.N. compound.

Former VOA employee Josephine Kamara dropped her husband off for work at the U.N. building shortly before the blast. She described the scene in an interview with VOA.

Death Toll Rises in Mexico Casino Fire

The death toll from Thursday's arson attack on a casino in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey now stands at more than 50 people.

Nuevo Leon Governor Rodrigo Medina told the Televisa network that 53 people were killed in the attack on the Casino Royale. Monterrey is the capital city of Nuevo Leon.

Witnesses say several gunmen burst into the casino and doused the premises with gasoline before setting it on fire. Many of the victims were found inside the casino's bathrooms, where they fled to escape the gunmen.

Bomb Blast Kills 9 in Northwest Pakistan

Pakistani officials say a bomb explosion at a crowded market in the country's northwest has killed at least nine people.

The blast occurred late Thursday in the town of Risalpur in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

At least 12 people were wounded when the bomb went off as people were shopping for the upcoming Muslim festival of Eid. Police say the bomb was planted on a bicycle.

Officials say the blast damaged several shops and a nearby hotel.

Militants have carried out a number of attacks in Pakistan's northwest despite operations by Pakistan's military in the tribal regions.

Pakistan Denies Reports Kidnapped American Freed

Pakistani officials are denying reports that an American kidnapped from the eastern city of Lahore earlier this month has been rescued.

Police officials and Pakistani media said Thursday that development expert Warren Weinstein had been freed in Punjab province's city of Khushab.

But Lahore's police chief, Ahmed Raza Tahir, later denied reports that Weinstein had been rescued. He said police were conducting raids and making arrests, but that Weinstein had not yet been recovered.

The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan also said it had no information about his release.

Pakistan Denies Link to Chinese Terror Group

Pakistan's foreign minister is denying claims made by some Chinese officials that her country had anything to do with terrorist attacks late last month in Xinjiang, in China's far west.

At the end of July, two bombs exploded in the streets of Kashgar, in China's far-western Xinjiang region. The blasts were followed by deadly mayhem. The violence left at least 19 people dead, including five attackers, and injured more than 40 others.

Yemeni Forces Kill Dozens of Militants

Officials in Yemen say the military has killed dozens of suspected al-Qaida-linked militants in the country's south.

Military and medical officials said early Wednesday Yemeni forces killed at least 30 militants near Zinjibar in Abyan province, and that seven soldiers were also killed during clashes in the area.

Militants have taken control of several areas in southern Yemen during the 6-month uprising pressing for President Ali Abdullah Saleh's resignation. Saleh remains in Saudi Arabia where he is recovering from injuries sustained in a June attack on his presidential compound.

Philippine Rebels Reject Proposed Peace Deal

Muslim rebels operating in the southern Philippines have rejected a new government peace proposal aimed at ending the decades long insurgency.

Negotiators from the Philippine government and the 11,000-member Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) held two days of talks in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

A rebel representative told Philippine television that the plan did not address the true concerns of Philippine Muslims. He said, however, that the rejection of the deal does not mean negotiations are over.

'Day of Mourning' Cripples Karachi

A general strike called to protest the ongoing political and ethnic violence in Karachi left Pakistan's largest city mostly deserted on Tuesday.

Karachi's main political party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), called for a "day of mourning" in the southern port city, where nearly 100 people were killed during the past week. MQM says many of its members were killed in the recent violence.

Most businesses, schools, and government offices were closed due to the strike, and traffic was light in Karachi.