UN Urges Kyrgyzstan To Quell Ethnic Violence

The United Nations is urging Kyrgyzstan to protect civilians and put an end to ethnic violence in the south that has forced some 275,000 people to flee their homes.A spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, Andrej Mahecic, said Tuesday that unless peace and order is restored swiftly, more people will be displaced or try to cross into neighboring Uzbekistan. Mahecic said he was "alarmed" by the rapid escalation of violence that began last Thursday.Officials say the riots targeting ethnic Uzbeks have killed at least 170 people and wounded more than 1,700 others in the cities of Osh and Jalalabad. Red Cross officials say the death toll is significantly higher.Kyrgyzstan's interim leader Roza Otunbayeva said Tuesday a Russian-led security group has decided not to send peacekeepers to the country, despite an earlier request from Kyrgyzstan. Ms. Otunbayeva also said a national referendum on a new constitution would take place as planned, despite the violence. The U.N. and the European Union