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WORLD IN BRIEF

· GENEVA -- Iraqi children are caught in a rapidly worsening tragedy as violence tightens its grip on their homeland, the U.N. Children's Fund said Wednesday.

Four million Iraqis -- nearly 15 percent of the population -- have fled their homes since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, UNICEF said. Half the refugees are children.

europe

· LONDON -- The archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual head of 77 million Anglicans worldwide, has not invited two wayward U.S. bishops to a major conference next year, which could further roil the divided communion.

Archbishop Rowan Williams has sent invitations to more than 800 Anglican bishops asking them to attend the Lambeth Conference in July and August 2008 but has not invited Gene Robinson, the Anglican Church's first openly gay bishop, and Martyn Minns, head of a new Nigerian-based church branch in the United States designed as a refuge for orthodox believers.

· BELFAST -- Britain formed a new Catholic-Protestant panel to oversee Northern Ireland's police force. For the first time it will include officials from Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army-linked party, which had boycotted the Northern Ireland Policing Board since its creation in 2001.

· MOSCOW -- Sergei Mavrodi, who fleeced millions of people of their savings, was freed from prison, ending a saga that symbolized the chaotic free-for-all of 1990s Russia.

· MINSK, Belarus -- Two opposition activists, whose three-year prison sentences prompted condemnation by the United States and European Union, were freed a year early. Paval Sevyarynets and Mikola Statkevich were sentenced in 2005 for organizing protests after a disputed 2004 referendum that allowed Alexander Lukashenko a third term.

africa

· NEW YORK -- Three journalists for the New York Times were arrested by the Ethiopian military and held for five days, the newspaper reported. The journalists were detained May 16 near the Somali border. Nairobi bureau chief Jeffrey Gettleman and two others were interrogated at gunpoint and released Monday without being charged, the paper said.

-- From News Services


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