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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn, Sheera Frenkel, and Ross Atkin / June 28, 2004



In a tumultuous weekend in Iraq, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said national elections might have to be delayed until next March because of violence. Meanwhile, a search was on to try to find and free three Turkish nationals threatened with beheading by Al Qaeda terrorists, and the Turkish government rejected an offer to trade their freedom for a commitment to stop working for postwar recovery. Terrorists loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi also claimed responsibility for the deaths of at least 23 Iraqis Saturday in two car-bomb attacks in Hilla, 60 miles south of Baghdad.

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The Bush administration condemned Iran for announcing that it will resume building centrifuges for its nuclear program, although the latter insisted, "Nothing important has happened." Its spokesman said the Tehran government wants the centrifuge work to take place under the supervision of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency and that the enriching of uranium remains suspended. The announcement followed the passage of an IAEA resolution rebuking Iran for covering up its nuclear activities.

The US and North Korea ended the latest round of talks far apart on the latter's nuclear weapons program, but all six participants agreed to meet again before Sept. 30 to resume discussions. They also approved a "concept paper" that outlines ways in which differences can be ironed out by then, with lower-level talks taking place in the meantime.

The West Bank commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade became the latest Palestinian terrorist leader to die as Israeli forces trapped him under a house in Nablus Satuday. Five others were killed along with Nayef Abu Sharkh, among them the local chiefs of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Sharkh was blamed for twin bombings Jan. 5, 2003, that killed 23 people at a Tel Aviv bus station.

As voters cast their ballots Monday in Canada, the first minority government since 1979 appears all but certain, based on late opinion polls. Such an outcome - which would leave the ruling Liberal Party and the opposition Conservatives each about 40 seats short of a majority in Parliament - would put the balance of power in the hands of the separatist Bloc Quebecois.

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