World

UN experts arrived in Iran to take the Islamic republic up on its offer to answer unresolved questions about its disputed nuclear program. A spokesman promised to make the results of the discussions public on Friday. But hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran wouldn't "surrender an iota" to demands that it suspend the enrichment of uranium.

Eight days of siege and fighting are "over," an Army spokesman in Islamabad, Pakistan, said as commandos secured the Lal Masjid mosque/school complex where a radical cleric and his students had defied an ultimatum to surrender. The cleric was among the more than 80 people known to have died in "Operation Silence," but that number was expected to rise.

Six foreign medical personnel lost another appeal in Libya of their convictions for infecting children with the virus that causes AIDS. The Supreme Court upheld death sentences for a Palestinian doctor and five Bulgarian nurses despite intense international pressure to free them. But analysts said one avenue remains open to the defendants. The Supreme Judicial Council, which is expected to meet early next week, could still reject the convictions or order lighter punishment.

An Islamist militant drove a refrigerated truck at high speed into an Algerian Army compound early Wednesday and detonated explosives hidden inside, killing himself and at least eight other people. The attack, one of the worst by terrorists in Algeria in months, came a day after visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy had toured the area 75 miles east of the capital, Algiers. It also happened hours before the opening in Algiers of the All-Africa Games, perhaps the continent's most prestigious sports festival.

Army troops in Sri Lanka appeared to have driven Tamil separatist rebels from their last stronghold on the eastern side of the island Wednesday, bringing the region under government control for the first time in 13 years. A Tamil spokesman acknowledged the loss but said, "We still operate in the area [and] will adopt every possible mode, tactic, and tool to engage the enemy."

Islamist rebels ambushed marines searching for a kidnapped Roman Catholic priest in the southern Philippines, killing at least 14 of them and beheading all but four, a commander said. He said the rebels were a joint force from the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf, which has ties to Al Qaeda. MILF, which is in peace talks with the government, denied responsibility for the beheadings and accused the marines of failing to coordinate their search with his organization.

To try to improve the morale of the public as well as government security forces, Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont planned to spend Wednesday night in an area that has been wracked by Muslim separatist violence. A spokesman said Surayud hoped his plan would provide reassurance that the area "has become safer" under his strategy of using peaceful means to deal with the problem. But separatists were blamed for the shooting deaths of three more people in Narathiwat and Yala provinces prior to Surayud's arrival.

A long-dormant program to apply nuclear technology to both military and civilian use will be revived, Brazilian President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva announced Tuesday. He told a news conference his government will budget $540 million toward the building of a nuclear submarine and for construction of a third reactor to help meet fast-growing demands for energy. Both projects were scrapped years ago over concerns about security.

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