Pirates holding a hijacked cargo ship off Somalia vowed Thursday never to lower their demand for a $20 million ransom and warned of "bad repercussions" if commandos attempt to board the vessel. A spokesman also sought to distance them from Islamist insurgents fighting to overthrow Somalia's interim government, saying "We have nothing to do with [them]; we only need money." The pirates are believed to be in negotiations with the ship owner over the ransom demand. The Somali government authorized the use of force to free the ship, and reports Wednesday said Russian commandos were boarding it. But that turned out not to be true.
New tests have found melamine-tainted foods from 15 more Chinese companies, the government said in a statement. Citing an unidentified foreign diplomatic source, Agence France-Presse reported Thurs-day that the government had ordered the recall of all powdered milk sold abroad, even "knowing that every product [has been] in line with safety norms since Sept. 14." At the same time, a lawyer claimed that he'd filed the first known suit against the dairy group at the center of the melamine scandal on behalf of a couple whose infant became ill after drinking tainted formula.
Five more bombs exploded Thursday in India, killing at least four people and wounding 100 others, many of them seriously. The blasts, in Agartala, five miles from the border with Bangladesh, came as crowds gathered for a Hindu religious festival. Agartala is the capital of Tripura State, which has a history of tribal insurgency. But earlier bombings there have not targeted crowded public places. A wave of explosions in big cities over the past five months has killed almost 150 people.