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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn / March 3, 2008



A new vote on sanctions against Iran for refusing to abandon its uranium-enrichment program is expected Monday in the UN Security Council. Council members were briefed last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency on alleged "weaponization studies" conducted in the Islamic republic as recently as 2004. If accurate, the briefing would appear to call into question the US intelligence estimate of last December that Iran had halted such research in 2003.

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Amid the latest impasse over stripping communist North Korea of its nuclear weapons program, tens of thousands of US and South Korean troops opened their annual joint drills Sunday, calling them "purely defensive." The North's official news agency condemned them as "reckless" and and warned of "self-defensive steps" in response. The exercises come less than a week after a historic goodwill concert in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, by the New York Philharmonic orchestra.

A rocket fired by a US helicopter killed one of Al Qaeda in Iraq's most-wanted leaders, a military spokesman said Sunday.Abu Yasir al-Saudi and another terrorist were riding in a car in Mosul when the strike took place last Wednesday, the spokesman said. He called Mosul the "center of gravity" for Al Qaeda because it is at the crossroads of infiltration routes for recruits arriving via Syria to the west, Turkey to the north, and Iran to the east. Up to two-thirds of terrorist activity in Iraq take place "in and around" Mosul, he said.

A terrorist infiltrated a conference of tribal elders in northwest Pakistan Sunday and exploded a bomb, killing himself and at least 39 others and wounding more than 100. Many of the latter reportedly were in critical condition. The elders had been discussing a resolution calling for punishment of anyone who shelters or aids Al Qaeda and Taliban militants. The attack was the third of its type in the area in three days.

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