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Police in Kabul, Afghanistan, arrested four Taliban militants, one of whom reportedly was among the attackers in Monday's commando-type raid on the luxury hotel favored by foreign visitors. Meanwhile, the number of dead from the raid rose to eight, among them an unidentified American and a Norwegian journalist who'd been covering the visit of his government's foreign minister. (Above, Foreign Minister Jonas Stoere signs a condolence book for the slain reporter.) A purported Taliban spokesman telephoned the Associated Press Tuesday to warn of increased attacks, specifically targeting restaurants in Kabul that are frequented by Westerners.

Four Lebanese civilians were killed and a US Embassy employee was hurt Tuesday when a bomb exploded in a predominantly Christian neighborhood of Beirut, the capital. No Americans were among the casualties, an embassy spokesman said. While the blast was only the latest in a growing series, the others have targeted mostly anti-Syrian politicians and journalists.

President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan said he has authorized soldiers to shoot anyone attempting to disrupt next month's parliamentary election. The announcement followed a bombing in Karachi Monday that killed nine people and wounded 52 others and the sentencing of three militants to life in prison for a 2002 attempt to assassinate the embattled president.

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A new two-pronged antitrust investigation against Microsoft was opened by the European Commission Monday, three months after the high-tech giant lost its appeal of a ruling that it had violated competition rules on the Continent. It agreed to pay a $745 million fine in the earlier case. Commissioners said one of the new probes will consider whether Microsoft unfairly ties its Internet browser, Explorer, to its Windows operating system. The other will look into whether the company has withheld key details from rivals wanting to market products compatible with its software.

A bomb exploded in a crowded marketplace in southern Thailand Tuesday, wounding at least 39 people, several of them critically. The attack in the capital of Yala Province followed by one day an ambush that killed eight soldiers in a neighboring province. A military spokesman said the stepped-up pace of attacks appeared to be in response to progress in hunting down leaders of the separatist campaign, now in its fifth year.

For the second time in three days, tens of thousands of Georgians rallied in the streets of Tbilisi, pressuring the Elections Commission for a runoff between President Mikhail Saakashvili and challenger Levan Gachechiladze. But Saakashvili, buoyed by a commission finding that he won 53 percent of the vote Jan. 5, was following through with preparations to take the oath of office for his second term Sunday. Gachechiladze, for his part, led the rally in celebrating an agreement with the government giving the opposition increased access to the state-funded TV station.

A close race for the leadership of Spain's government appeared likely as Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero dissolved parliament and scheduled a national election for March 9. Political observers said they anticipate a rematch of the 2004 vote, won by Zapatero's Socialist Party in the wake of the devastating bombing attack on the Madrid rail system. Recent opinion polls show the Socialists in a statistical dead heat with the conservative Popular Party, whose prospects have improved amid a slowdown in the economy.

To help protect an endangered species of tiger from development, uncontrolled logging, poachers, and other threats, Russia's government has set aside a reserve of more than 1 million acres, reports said. The reserve, in the Russian Far East, will have the status of a national park. Wildlife experts estimate that only 20 to 25 northern Amur tigers inhabit the reserve.

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