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U.S. commander says some Taliban fighters are training in Iran

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal leads the U.S. and NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal leads the U.S. and NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan. (Shah Marai/agence France-presse/getty Images)
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Beijing didn't appear ready to support possible action in the U.N. Security Council against North Korea, its longtime ally. But Wen's closing remarks at Sunday's meeting seemed to signal that it was becoming more engaged in the crisis.

"The urgent task for the moment is to properly handle the serious impact caused by the Cheonan incident, gradually defuse tensions over it and avoid possible conflicts," Wen said.

-- Associated Press

MIDDLE EAST

Activist ships set sail to Gaza with supplies

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists, including a Nobel laureate and a Holocaust survivor, set sail Sunday for the Gaza Strip, edging closer to an expected naval showdown with Israeli gunships determined to stop them.

Huwaida Arraf, one of the organizers, said the six-ship flotilla began the journey from international waters off the coast of Cyprus in the afternoon after two days of delays. She said that they expected to reach Gaza, about 250 miles away, on Monday afternoon, and that two more ships would follow in "a second wave."

The three cargo ships and three passenger ships are trying to draw attention to Israel's three-year blockade of the Gaza Strip. The boats are carrying materials that Israel bars from reaching Gaza, such as cement and other building materials.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that after a security check, permissible humanitarian aid confiscated from the boats would be transferred to Gaza through authorized channels. However, Israel would not transfer items it has banned from Gaza under its blockade rules.

-- Associated Press

Berenson seeks return from Peru to U.S.: Lori Berenson, a U.S. citizen freed on parole last week from a Peruvian prison, asked for her 20-year sentence to be reduced so she can return to the United States. Berenson, 40, had been in jail since 1995 on charges of belonging to the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA.

Albanians, Serbs clash in Kosovo: Riot police in Kosovo used tear gas and pepper spray Sunday to separate hundreds of ethnic Albanian protesters from rock-throwing Serbs voting in local Serbian elections in the tense, divided town of Mitrovica. NATO peacekeepers and European Union police units were also deployed to the bridge that splits the town into a Serbian north and an Albanian south.

Storm causes deaths in Central America: Central American authorities said at least 83 people have been killed in flooding and landslides associated with the region's first tropical storm of the year. Guatemala's disaster relief spokesman said 73 people have been killed as a result of torrential rains brought by Agatha, which slammed into the region as a tropical storm before dissipating. Salvadoran President Maruricio Funes said nine people were killed in his country, and Honduras has reported one fatality.

-- From news services


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