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In brief

Clinton can’t smile over Mideast talks Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton talks during her joint news conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Washington. Jordan joined Saudi Arabia in rejecting U.S. appeals to improve relations with Israel to help restart Mideast peace talks, throwing a damper on the Obama administration’s push for Arab support behind new talks.

MEXICO CITY 6.9 quake strikes villages

A powerful earthquake Monday shook fishing villages along Mexico’s Gulf of California, prompting alarm as far away as Phoenix, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The U.S. National Earthquake Information Center said the 6.9-magnitude quake struck at 12:59 p.m. (1:59 EDT) and was centered 76 miles north-northeast of Santa Isabel in Baja California and 331 miles southeast of the border city of Tijuana.

It was the strongest of four quakes of 5.0-magnitude or greater that struck the area over a 45-minute period.

KABUL Rocket falls near U.S. site

Five rockets slammed into Kabul at daybreak today, one of them falling near the U.S. Embassy in a rare attack on the Afghan capital less than three weeks before presidential elections, police and residents said.

The explosions, heard by AP reporters, occurred to the east of the city, toward the international airport and near several residential areas.

The impact of one of the rockets could be seen about 200 yards from the U.S. Embassy on a main road of central Kabul. It hit the house of a senior Interior Ministry official but caused no casualties, security officers said.

BUFFALO, N.Y. Cuba travel ban attacked

Groups of travelers who defied the federal government’s ban on most travel to Cuba returned to the United States with some fanfare but no holdups Monday, passing without incident through checkpoints at the northern and southern borders.

Opponents of the ban have been making such protest trips for 40 years but said recent overtures from the Obama administration have lifted hopes that U.S. relations with Cuba will improve.

About 140 members of the Venceremos Brigade walked from Canada into the United States at Buffalo wearing orange T-shirts and chanting for an end to U.S. sanctions. Meanwhile, about 130 members of the “U.S./Cuba Friendshipment Caravan” re-entered the United States at the Hidalgo International Bridge from Reynosa, Mexico.

NEW BEDFORD, Mass Fumes hospitalize dozens

Noxious fumes at a trash disposal facility sent 55 people to hospitals on Monday, including two who were listed in critical condition.

Firefighters responded to ABC Disposal Service Inc. in New Bedford just after 10 a.m. after a report that something brought to the facility was making people sick, fire Chief Paul Leger said.

As many as 10 people lost consciousness after breathing in the fumes, authorities said. The victims were decontaminated on site before being taken to hospitals.

St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford said it received 33 patients, two of whom were listed as critical and were in the intensive care unit. Twenty-six of those patients were brought in by bus, and they were listed in good condition, the hospital said.

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