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WORLD IN BRIEF
? STUTTGART, Germany -- Three Iraqi men went on trial on charges that they plotted to kill Ayad Allawi during a visit to Germany in 2004 when he was Iraq's prime minister.
Ata Abdoulaziz Rashid, 32, Mazen Ali Hussein, 24, and Rafik Mohamad Yousef, 31, face charges of conspiracy and membership in Ansar al-Islam, a radical Islamic group linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
? ROME -- Italian police arrested 45 people in an anti-Mafia crackdown in Sicily, including top mobsters who allegedly had been in contact with Bernardo Provenzano, the reputed No. 1 boss caught earlier this year.
Investigators said the arrests in Palermo dealt a serious blow to the heart of the Sicilian Mafia two months after Provenzano's arrest. The investigation, which included almost two years of wiretapping in and around Palermo, gave a clear picture of the crime syndicate in the Sicilian capital, they said.
? MADRID -- A founding member of the armed Basque separatist group ETA was among 12 people arrested in France and Spain in a crackdown on the organization's extortion operations, the Interior Ministry said. All were accused of acting as intermediaries between ETA and businesses from which it exacts payments, the ministry said.
? KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Sudan's president vowed to never allow U.N. peacekeepers into the western region of Darfur and said he would lead the "resistance" against any foreign force, his strongest rejection yet of the plan by the United Nations for halting violence in the region.
BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombia's coca crop increased by 8 percent last year despite a U.S.-backed eradication campaign that was the largest in history, U.N. drug officials said.
-- From News Services