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By Compiled from wire service reports by Ross Atkin / August 18, 2008



The Israeli cabinet agreed Sunday to release 200 Palestinian prisoners, including two jailed 30 years ago for attacks on Israelis, as a gesture to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, government officials said. Dogged by a corruption scandal, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has pledged to use his remaining time in office to pursue efforts to reach a peace deal with Abbas.

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Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt broke his own 100-meter dash world record on Day 9 of the Beijing Olympics. Despite easing up before the finish of the men's race, he still lowered the mark by 0.03 seconds to 9.69. Above, he raises his golden running shoes in celebration. In the women's marathon, Romania's Constantina Tomescu (above, lower right) became the event's oldest Olympic champion, at 38, by opening up a big lead midway through the race en route to securing a 22-second victory margin over Kenya's Catherine Ndereba, the reigning world champion. In swimming, Tunisia's Oussama Mellouli (lower left) won the men's 1,500-meter freestyle to claim his country's first gold medal since the 1968 Mexico City Olympics in his return from a doping ban.

Iran launched its first domestically made satellite into space Sunday, the official IRNA news agency said. Iran sparked international concern in February by testing the rocket designed to carry the satellite, which some observers believe could be used for nuclear armaments.

In one of the deadliest recent attacks in Afghanistan, insurgents killed 10 policemen with a roadside bomb near Kandahar, officials said Sunday, prompting a move of Monday's independence celebration to an undisclosed location. Last week, Afghan and US-led coalition forces reported killing 90 militants during several days of fighting in the south of the country.

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