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BATTLES: Tamil rebel divers infiltrated the military's largest port and blew up a navy supply ship Tuesday, killing 12 people, the Sri Lankan military said. Government troops launched offensives on two fronts. Forty-four soldiers and at least 26 rebels died in battles on the Jaffna Peninsula in the north and in the eastern Batticaloa region. Thousands of troops backed by warplanes and navy gunboats advanced on rebel positions in the north at dawn Tuesday, in what could be a prelude to an assault on the rebel stronghold of Jaffna City.

EASING UP: Israel eased restrictions barring Palestinians from the Jewish state Tuesday, letting tens of thousands of workers return to their jobs after weeks of closure. But young Palestinians - Gaza Strip residents under 35 and West Bank residents under 30 - will still be denied permits to enter Israel. Palestinians under 30 have been denied entry since the beginning of the year. Army radio said Israeli officials were concerned that the easing of restrictions would lead to more suicide bombings by Islamic militants like those that have killed dozens of Israelis over the past two years.

Across the nation

ACQUITTED: A man who beat a dog to death with a baseball bat after it mauled his 1-year-old son threw his arms up in joy, then sobbed after a Santa Ana, Calif., jury acquitted him of animal cruelty. "We have a dead dog and a son who will never be the same," Alan Roberts said after he was cleared Monday. "Regardless of the verdict, those things will never change." He had faced a maximum penalty of one year in prison. Roberts' son, Andrew, and his mother were waiting outside a coffee shop on July 30 when the loose dog, an Akita-Chow mix, grabbed the toddler's face in its jaws. Andrew, a child model, needed 60 stitches to close the wounds.

NO LAUNCH: High wind prevented an unmanned Atlas rocket from blasting off Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and pushed back NASA's seventh launch attempt of space shuttle Columbia to Friday. NASA could have tried to launch Columbia on Thursday if the Atlas rocket had soared Tuesday morning with a Navy communications satellite. But because the Atlas launch slipped to Wednesday, Columbia also was delayed a day. The Air Force, which tracks all launches for safety purposes, needs one to two days after one launch to get ready for the next one.