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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn / January 9, 2008



Two rockets fired from southern Lebanon fell on an Israeli border town late Monday night, causing property damage but no casualties. The attack, the second of its type since the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah militants, came on the eve of President Bush's trip to the region. Neither Hizbullah nor Lebanese government officials would comment on the incident. Hours later, two members of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon were hurt when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

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Tamil rebels were blamed for the assassination Tuesday of a senior Sri Lankan government official in an incident considered certain to heighten worry of an intensified civil war. D.M. Dassanayake died after a bomb exploded beside his car (above) in a suburb of Colombo, the capital. He had coordinated rebuilding efforts in eastern areas damaged when government forces ousted the rebels last summer. The assassination came two days after the death of the rebels' top intelligence officer and less than a week after the government pulled out of the 2002 truce with the separatists.

Newly elected African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma won a key vote of confidence from party executives Tuesday and will remain its candidate for president of South Africa. Zuma is due to go on trial in August for fraud, racketeering, and other charges. But the ANC's executive committee said it had "grave misgivings" about the charges and will seek to assist his defense. His trial could overlap next year's presidential election.

Despite the official visit of India's defense minister, the government of Malaysia announced Tuesday that it has suspended the recruitment of guest workers from his country as well as from Bangladesh.Nationals from those countries already in Malaysia won't be granted extensions of their work permits, the government said. Analysts suggested the move was linked to large street protests late last year over the treatment of ethnic Indians. Malaysian factories and plantations employ about 250,000 Indians and Bangladeshis.

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