World

Israel was preparing to launch a spy satellite to monitor Iran's nuclear program, a day after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called again for the destruction of the Jewish state. But in Tehran, Iran's senior negotiator said his government would respond to any "harsh measures" by moving its nuclear program underground. Ali Larijani also did not rule out using oil exports as a weapon if the UN imposes sanctions because of the nuclear issue. Ahmadinejad predicted Monday that the UN would not sanction Iran.

Tamil rebel strongholds were being attacked by Sri Lanka's armed forces Tuesday after a female terrorist exploded a bomb in the capital, killing eight people and wounding 27 others, among them Army chief Sarath Fonseka. Reports said she slipped past relaxed lunchtime security at the main military base in Colombo by hiding the explosive under her clothes and appearing to be pregnant. A government spokesman denied that the attacks on rebel areas meant a return to war with the Tamils but said the rebels "did something this afternoon that clearly breached the cease-fire."

Under pressure for not being tough enough with Japan, South Korea's president blasted the neighboring government for "insulting acts against the sovereignty and pride" of his people. Roh Moo-hyun said South Korea would never abandon its claim to a set of disputed islands that came close to causing an armed showdown over Japanese attempts to survey them. In a deal reached late Saturday night, Japan's negotiators agreed to end the mapping mission in return for a delay in efforts to reregister the islands with Korean names. But Roh, who has a low job-approval rating and faces elections next month, has been criticized by many South Koreans for giving up too much in the agreement.

A plan for the largest expansion of the Panama Canal since its opening in 1914 was announced Monday night. President Martin Torrijos told Panamanians the project calls for new locks to accommodate huge container ships that will use replacement routes "if we do not meet the challenge to give competitive service." The expansion is projected to cost $5.3 billion and construction should be complete by 2014, Torrijos said. Opponents say the plan is risky because it anticipates growth in world trade that may not occur.

Bail was denied to a leading opposition member of parliament in the Solomon Islands after his arrest for inciting last week's mob violence. Charles Dausabea and a fellow legislator were detained prior to a vote on the no-confidence motion they brought against new Prime Minister Snyder Rini. The denial of bail, Dausabea's lawyer warned, "would probably [cause] rioting" by islanders who resent the influence of Chinese businesspeople in Rini's election. Parliament is evenly split between Rini's forces and the opposition, but with the two lawmakers in jail, the prime minister predicted he'll win the no-confidence vote.

Ten thousand more people were expected to evacuate towns along the Danube in western Romania with water levels in Europe's second-longest river reaching a record 21-1/2 feet. By noon Tuesday, 3,500 had left for higher ground as dikes broke, flooding communities and adjacent farmland. Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu blamed the failed dikes on communist-era construction methods, calling them "things which are against nature."

Cyclone Monica weakened to a tropical depression as it cros-sed northern Australia inflicting only light damage on Darwin, the region's largest city. Hours earlier, meteorologists had rated it a "monster" Category 5 storm, with winds of up to 217 m.p.h. While sparing Darwin, it devastated a small Aboriginal town, and forecasters expected it to regain intensity as it tracked over water again en route toward the state of Western Australia.

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