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Final arguments in the trial of Saddam Hussein and seven co-defendants were presented Thursday in Baghdad, and the case was adjourned until Oct. 16. At that time, the former Iraqi dictator and at least two of his top lieutenants could be sentenced to death for their alleged roles in the 1982 killings of Shiites in the town of Dujail. However, Hussein's second trial – for violent suppression of Kurds in the 1980s – is scheduled to open in the meantime.

Al Qaeda "will attack everywhere" to avenge Israeli military operations in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, its No 2 leader said in a new videotaped message Thursday. Ayman al-Zawahiri said, in part, "We cannot just watch [Israeli] shells as they burn our brothers." Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden also can be expected to release a new audio or videotape soon, counterterrorism experts predicted.

Saying, "we have failed to fulfill the needs of the people," 20 members of Somalia's parliament announced their resignations Thursday. The move was seen as an attempt to lure the Islamist militia that controls much of the nation into peace negotiations scheduled for this weekend. Thus far, the Islamists have refused to attend. A motion of no-confidence in Prime Minister Ali Mohamad Gedi also was introduced in parliament, although it was not immediately clear whether the same legislators were responsible. Analysts suggested that the only outcome of the negotiations that could avert civil war would be a power-sharing government with the Islamists in which one of them replaced Gedi.

Floyd Landis, the winner of the Tour de France bicycle race, was identified as the rider who failed a drug test. The announcement that a competitor had failed was made following the 17th stage of the competition last Thursday, but he was not named at the time. Landis, an American, rode for a Swiss team, which said he would ask for analysis of a backup urine sample to determine whether "this [finding] is coming from a mistake." But if the second sample confirms that he used testosterone, a doping agent, Landis will be fired, the team said.

In a nationally televised interview Thursday, defeated leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador called himself "already the president of Mexico" and suggested that supporters would seize the nation's major airport if a manual recount of votes in the July 2 election isn't ordered. He said he'll announce a campaign of "civil resistance" Sunday at another mass rally in Mexico City because "We are not going to sit there with our arms folded" while the nation's senior electoral court considers his demand for a new recount of ballots. A computerized recount showed rival candidate Felipe Calderón won by a 0.58 percent margin. A spokesman for Cal-derón said López Obrador's latest move "shows his ... obsession for somebody to call him president."

Sixteen years after leaving the presidency in disgrace, Alan Garcia is to accept the oath of office Friday for a second term as leader of Peru. But unlike his 90 percent approval rating when taking office the first time in 1985, national opinion polls show him with barely 50 percent support. Political analysts suggested he'll have to move quickly to improve conditions in rural areas. His rival, fiery leftist Ollanta Humala, promised radical reforms to help the poor and won an overwhelming majority of the vote in the southern highlands.

Less than two minutes after lift-off, a Russian rocket that was to carry hundreds of millions of dollars worth of satellites into Earth's orbit crashed late Wednesday. All the satellites reportedly were destroyed. A spokesman for the Federal Space Agency said it was likely that the rocket engine had "experienced emergency shutdown." The rocket, a civilian version of an intercontinental ballistic missile, was launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, the world's largest space center. A similar accident occurred on lift-off from there last October.

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