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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn / April 24, 2008



Writing in the state-owned newspaper, a respected political commentator threw a curve into Zimbabwe's contentious presidential politics by suggesting that incumbent Robert Mugabe forge a unity government with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). But analysts said they doubted that the idea had official backing and maintained that Mugabe still is expected to participate in a runoff against MDC challenger Morgan Tsvangirai. The opposition lost the first of 23 recounts of votes for seats in parliament Wednesday.

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Israel was delivering 26,000 gallons of diesel fuel to the only electric utility in the Gaza Strip Wednesday, forestalling a shutdown of the plant and the cutoff of power to tens of thousands of Palestinians. But UN relief officials demanded that gasoline be supplied as well to allow their vehicles to distribute food and other needs to Gaza residents. Below, a truck driver unloads diesel fuel into a holding tank at the power plant.

The Olympic torch was taken immediately to a secret location on arrival in Australia's capital as security officials admitted to concern over the possibility of chaotic demonstrations involving pro-Tibet sympathizers and those in the ethnic Chinese community. The route that the torch was to travel through Canberra Thursday also was shortened by more than a mile, although federal police planned to run alongside the bearers and fencing was erected to keep spectators at a distance.

At least 38 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed Wednesday in one of the Army's fiercest battles with Tamil rebels in years. An Army spokesman said the fighting began at dawn when the rebels overran an encampment on the Jaffna Peninsula, where the Tamils claim a de facto state. A rebel website claimed 84 other soldiers were wounded in the clash, although both sides are known for inflating casualty counts from battles. For its part, the Army said 52 rebels had been killed in the fighting.

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