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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn / February 8, 2008



NATO's secretary-general rejected American concerns that some member countries are unwilling "to fight and die" to protect Western security interests. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer of the Netherlands disputed the suggestion by Defense Secretary Gates that NATO was becoming a two-tiered alliance. But he agreed that more forces are needed in Afghanistan, where Taliban and Al Qaeda militants have posed an increasing challenge to NATO forces, most of them from the US, Britain, Canada, and the Netherlands.

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A ban on wearing Islamic head scarves by female college students in Turkey appears likely to fall Saturday when parliament votes for the second time on an amendment to the Constitution. In a preliminary ballot Thursday, the legislators approved the proposed amendment 401 to 110, over the objections of protesters (some of them above) massed outside. The issue is divisive, with secularists regarding the scarf as a political statement that ultimately could lead to pressure for female students to cover themselves completely.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed on Chad's capital and six provinces by President Idriss Déby "to restore calm and deal with the damage" last weekend by rebel units whom his government claims were backed by Sudan's Army. Déby also appealed to the European Union to deploy peacekeepers "as quickly as possible to lighten the load we are carrying." The rebels have retreated halfway to the border with Sudan, whose government denies aiding the offensive.

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