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A US military team assessing conditions in Liberia was blocked by police special forces from visiting a refugee camp outside the capital, Monrovia. Witnesses said police fired in the air at a checkpoint, dispersing a large crowd of cheering onlookers accompanying the 32-member team. An official at the US Embassy in Monrovia said it wasn't immediately clear why the group was turned back. Many Liberians hope the visit will prompt President Bush to send troops to help restore stability in the West African nation torn by 14 years of civil strife.

For the second time in less than a week, a purported recording of Saddam Hussein urging Iraqis to resist coalition forces was broadcast by Al Jaeera and another Arab-language news service. Both said the tapes appear new and arrived in the past few days, but the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the statements were identical to those on a tape it received in May. The whereabouts of the ousted Iraqi leader are unknown, and the Bush administration is increasingly concerned that Hussein is being used to rally support for violent opposition to the US-led rebuilding effort.

A temporary truce remains in effect, Islamic Jihad leaders insisted, while strongly denying claims by a local cell of responsibility for a suicide blast that killed an Israeli woman late Monday. The attack was the first since the three main Palestinian militant groups declared a cease-fire 10 days ago.

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In a key test of Iran's willingness to allay concerns of an alleged nuclear-weapons program, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog agency said he'll press for unfettered, short-notice inspections at nuclear facilities during talks with Iranian leaders Wednesday in Tehran. Mohamed ElBaradei said he is seeking at least "a commitment," followed quickly by "concrete action." Iran insists its nuclear program is for electricity, and announced completion Monday of tests on a long-range missile that military analysts said could reach Israel.

Flooding from the annual monsoon season has affected some 2.5 million people in India and neighboring Bangladesh, with more than 1 million people in the region reportedly left homeless by rising waters. Authorities in Bangladesh recorded 89 fatalities, many of them children suffering from waterborne diseases, while Indian officials say at least 18 people have died in landslides. Meteorologists in both countries forecast continued torrential downpours.

Iranian conjoined twins undergoing a separation procedure died within three hours of each other Tuesday at a hospital in Singapore. The lengthy operation, which drew international attention, was the first to separate adults joined at the head.

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