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By Compiled from wire service reports by Ross Atkin / January 3, 2008

Sri Lanka's government decided to formally annul a cease-fire agreement with the Tamil Tigers, a senior government official said Wednesday. The military and rebels have been fighting a new phase in a two-decade civil war since early last year, leaving a 2002 cease-fire in tatters. But neither side had wanted to be regarded as being responsible for its formal collapse. The Tigers have been labeled a terrorist group by a host of nations, including the US, Britain, and EU countries, after a series of attacks and assassinations.

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The death toll from a suicide bombing in Baghdad Tuesday reached 36, police said of the deadliest attack in Iraq's capital city since Aug. 1, when a suicide bomber detonated a truck near a gas station, killing 50 people. The latest bombing occurred as men gathered for a retired Iraqi Army officer's funeral. Despite continuing attacks, there's been a noticeable decrease in violence across the country since early 2007.

A meeting between Catholics and Muslims is planned in Rome this spring to start a dialogue between the faiths after relations were soured by Pope Benedict XVI's 2006 comments about Islam and holy war, Vatican officials said. The agenda will cover respect for the dignity of each person, interreligious dialogue, and instruction of tolerance among the young.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (above l.) and Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi (r.) met in Cairo Jan. 1 to discuss the situation in Darfur, Sudan's war-torn western region. Qaddafi has criticized international efforts to resolve the conflict and said it would be worked out if the region were left alone.