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August 28, 1996
Web posted at: 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT)

Death toll tops 200 in Himalayan pilgrimage

SRINAGAR, India (CNN) -- Searchers have recovered the bodies of more Hindu pilgrims trapped by a freak snowstorm last week, bringing the death toll to over 200, police said Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of pilgrims trying to pay homage to Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, at Amarnath cave were trapped by the storm and landslides caused by torrential rains. Many died of exposure.

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Talks, troop withdrawal continue in Chechnya

GROZNY, Russia (CNN) -- Russian and Chechen military leaders sat down Wednesday for more talks on implementing a cease- fire, while Russian troops and armored vehicles rolled out of Grozny, the Chechen capital.

News reports said the talks would concentrate on the speed of implementing the deal, exchanging prisoners and demilitarizing Grozny.

Russian security chief Alexander Lebed reached the agreement last week with rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov.

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Philippine army, rebels clash despite peace moves

peace talks

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (CNN) -- Seven guerrillas from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were killed Wednesday in a clash with Philippine government troops in South Cotabato province.

The troops opened fire after they were attacked while on patrol.

The clash came one day before the opening of what has been billed as the final round of talks between the government and the mainstream Moro National Liberation Front. The government and the Islamic groups appear close to an agreement on terms for self-rule in the southern Mindanao region.

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Russian troops fire on Japanese fishing boats

Kuril Islands map

TOKYO (CNN) Russian patrol boats fired on two Japanese fishing boats in disputed waters Wednesday, injuring two fishermen.

Japanese and Russian officials said the incident occurred in waters around the disputed Southern Kurile Islands, but it was not clear on which side of a demarcation line it happened.

Russia has accused Japanese fishermen of repeatedly crossing into Russian waters.

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