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Tamil separatist rebels in Sri Lanka are nearly crushed, President Mahinda Rajapakse said in a message to the nation on the eve of Independence Day. He said the "final elimination of terror [is] well within our reach" after 25 years of war. As he spoke, however, the Red Cross said 29 people had been killed or wounded when artillery shells fell on a hospital in the war zone. A rebel website accused government forces of responsibility.

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An opposition member of Greece's Parliament and one other person were hurt Mon-day in a clash with police trying to keep farmers from escalating a two-week protest against low prices for their crops. The violence took place at the port of Piraeus, where hundreds of farmers planned to drive their tractors to the capital. The Agriculture Ministry said its "door is always open" to farmers, but authorities forbade them from demonstrating in Athens except on foot. The protesters say they need much more than the $658 million in new aid the government has offered.

Business groups across Britain estimated Monday that disruptions caused by the heaviest snowfall in two decades would cost their members $1 billion. Accumulations of 10 inches or more led authorities to advise commuters not even to try traveling to work, and train and bus service and all flights into and out of Heathrow Airport were canceled. Several of London's subway lines and hundreds of schools also were closed. More snow was predicted for Tuesday from a system that was snarling highway traffic in France and Spain.

Whalers from Japan blasted environmental activists with a water cannon and a "military grade" noise machine Monday as the latter tried to disrupt an annual harvest off Antarctica. But the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society claimed its protesters also had been pelted with chunks of metal and golf balls and that one of them had been hurt. They've chased the whaling ship for almost 2,000 miles since early December. The Japanese aim to harvest more than 900 whales this season.