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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn / November 6, 2008



President-elect Barack Obama must put an end to civilian casualties in Afghanistan, its leader said Wednesday after a reported attack by US jets killed 37 people, many of them children. "This is my first demand of the new president," Hamid Karzai said after the incident in southern Kandahar Province. The US military said the report was being investigated, but "if innocent people were killed ... we apologize and express our condolences."

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"If necessary," Russia will deploy short-range missiles near the border with Poland to "neutralize" the defensive shield planned by the US, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday in his first State of the Nation address. He said the Kremlin hopes for better relations with Obama than it has had with President Bush but warned that if the US shield is built in Poland and the Czech Republic, Russia will jam it electronically.

Hamas and Israel's government both said they want to restore calm Wednesday after fighting broke out in the southern Gaza Strip. Hamas militants fired dozens of rockets across the boundary with the Jewish state after troops crossed into Gaza and collapsed a tunnel apparently being dug as a means of invading Israel on kidnapping forays. No one was hurt in the rocket attacks, but six militants died when an Israeli airstrike hit the mortar they were preparing to fire. The violence was the worst since Egypt brokered a cease-fire between them last June.

For the second time in less than a week, North Korea's government released photos of Kim Jong Il, apparently seeking to show that he remains in control of the communist regime. The pictures were undated, although some show him in front of fall foliage, suggesting they were taken in recent days. Speculation that Kim has undergone an operation on his brain has been rife, and a leading French surgeon confirmed Wednesday that he visited North Korea's capital last month. He denied treating Kim, however.

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