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TORONTO — An Egyptian refugee with alleged links to Osama bin Laden and other terrorists was hospitalized Tuesday, the 76th day of a hunger strike aimed at protesting living conditions during more than five years behind bars. Mohammad Mahjoub was reported to be in stable condition at a Toronto-area hospital.


BOGOTA — Former top Venezuelan military officials accused of trying to oust Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in a 2002 coup are seeking refugee status in Colombia. Rear Adm. Hector Ramirez, who was named Venezuela's defense minister during the failed two-day coup, is one of nine former or current military officers seeking refuge in Colombia, local media reported Tuesday.


CAIRO — A U.S. Air Force officer taking part in a military exercise was killed in a road accident in northern Egypt, a spokesman for the U.S. military said Tuesday. Two other Air Force members were injured.


BERLIN — Conservative challenger Angela Merkel won overwhelming backing from her party Tuesday ahead of talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats about a coalition government. Schroeder, apparently showing new flexibility, said all sides should drop "preconditions."


TEHRAN — Iran on Tuesday threatened to resume uranium enrichment and bar open inspections of its nuclear facilities if an ongoing meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog decides to refer it to the Security Council for possible sanctions. However, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, offered Europe a new round of talks, saying the world should give Tehran's new government a chance to reach a political understanding.


JERUSALEM — Israel pulled the last of its troops out of two isolated West Bank settlements Tuesday, completing the final phase of the withdrawal it began in Gaza last month. As Israeli soldiers left the empty settlements of Ganim and Kadim, next to the West Bank town of Jenin, Palestinians streamed in.


ROME — The U.S. Justice Department has told a Texas court that a lawsuit accusing Pope Benedict XVI of conspiring to cover up the sexual molestation of three boys by a seminarian should be dismissed because the pontiff enjoys immunity as head of state of the Holy See. Assistant U.S. Attorney General Peter Keisler said in Monday's filing that allowing the lawsuit to proceed would be "incompatible with the United States' foreign policy interests."


MEXICO CITY — Subcomandante Marcos, who first caught the world's attention as the charismatic leader of an Indian rebel movement, has appeared on the cover of a popular celebrity magazine amid rumors of a love affair with a Mexican journalist. Subcomandante Marcos' debut on the cover of "Quien" magazine coincides with the Zapatista National Liberation Army's recent announcement it is launching a new nationwide leftist movement.


LAGOS — Nigeria's Anglican church has deleted all references to the mother church in Britain from its constitution, deepening a rift over homosexuality but stopping short of a feared schism. The Nigeria and Ugandan Anglican churches broke ties with the U.S. Episcopal Church over its 2003 consecration of a gay bishop living with a partner. A new dispute over same-sex unions in England has deepened divisions.


KHARTOUM — President Omar el-Bashir said Tuesday he had formed his unity Cabinet, ending weeks of tough negotiations between his party and former rebels and taking another step toward securing peace. The United Nations, meanwhile, said Sudanese rebels have captured a southern Darfur village, placing more than 30,000 civilians at risk and forcing humanitarian workers to flee.

United Nations

Al-Qaida has spawned a so-called "third generation" of followers skilled in urban warfare and suicide bombings and U.N. sanctions need to be updated to keep up with the changing tactics, a report warned Tuesday. The committee monitoring sanctions against the terror network and the Taliban said the arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze have been somewhat effective.