World

Iraq isn't frightened by "impudent threats," and any invaders will "die in disgraceful failure," President Saddam Hussein warned in a speech marking the anniversary of the end of the 1980-'88 Iran-Iraq war. He called on the United Nations to reply to a list of questions from his regime on the return of arms inspectors and the end of trade sanctions. Thursday's address followed huge military parades in Baghdad, including a march by female soldiers. A day earlier, President Bush said that while Iraq posed "real threats," no decision has been made on military action to remove its leader.

A series of explosions killed 14 people and injured more than 60 in attacks timed to the inauguration of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Five shells went off in the capital, Bogota. Leftist rebels were believed responsible. Uribe has vowed a crackdown under a "firm hand, big heart" policy. On a trip to the northern city of Valledupar, Uribe announced a plan to safeguard roads. Rebels often abduct travelers for ransom.

"It's too early to tell" whether Al Qaeda and Taliban remnants are mounting a campaign against US troops in Afghanistan, said Marine Gen. Peter Pace. The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke during a two-day visit. An American soldier was airlifted to a medical facility in Germany Thursday after being shot by a sniper in eastern Afghanistan. It was the third exchange of fire in three days, in clashes that left five Afghans dead.

A $30 billion loan package for Brazil was approved by the International Monetary Fund, the largest in IMF history. Brazil, Latin America's largest economy, is caught in a deepening crisis that has also struck Argentina and Uruguay. Brazil's currency, the real, recently lost 23 percent of its value against the dollar amid concerns of a possible default on $250 billion in public debt.

Security talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials ended without a final deal on an Israeli military pullback from the West Bank. Israeli officials said the two sides would meet again next week. The talks came as Israeli forces continued raids to detain Palestinians suspected of involvement in attacks, and the demolition of their homes.

Some 3,000 white farmers in Zimbabwe won a temporary reprieve to a Thursday midnight deadline to vacate farms or go to jail. The country's High Court ruled that the government can't seize mortgaged or bonded property without informing lender banks first. The evictions are part of President Robert Mugabe's land-reform policy.

At least two people were reported dead and as many as 70 more were missing, after floods swept away tourists camping near Russia's Black Sea coast. More than 400 people were evacuated from the area.

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