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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn / July 16, 2008



At least 40 people died Tuesday and 113 others were wounded in bombing attacks across northern Iraq, an area where the government has vowed to expand a crackdown against Al Qaeda militants. The worst of the bombings was in Baquba, where two terrorists triggered explosives belts amid a group of men outside an Army recruitment center. That attack killed or wounded 95 people. A US military spokeswoman said it and other recent bombings were Al Qaeda's way of demonstrating that it remains a threat to the area.

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Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's cabinet voted 22 to 3 Tuesday to approve the trade of a Hezbollah militant for two soldiers captured in a 2006 cross-border raid – even though the latter are believed to be dead. Hezbollah's commander in southern Lebanon boasted that the exchange, which is expected to take place Wednesday, is an official Israeli admission of defeat in their 34-day war two years ago.

Another campaign to impeach Thailand's prime minister was begun Tuesday, allegedly for giving up a claim to disputed territory on the border with Cambodia. The issue has brought daily protests to the streets of Bangkok for almost two months. The area in question contains an ancient Hindu temple, which was declared a UN World Heritage Site last week. Cambodia placed troops on alert at the temple after its caretaker claimed that a Thai military unit had been seen nearby earlier in the day.

US Army deserter Robin Long was awaiting deportation back to his base at Fort Knox, Ky., Tuesday after Canada's Federal Court rejected a final appeal of his case. The court said Long hadn't provided convincing evidence that he would be subject to irreparable harm if handed back to US authorities. He fled to Canada in 2005, claiming the war in Iraq was illegal and unjustified. A war-resisters' support group has said it believes "hundreds" of other US deserters are living underground in Canada.

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