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U.S. Wants Details on Iran Nuke Claims 'Very Soon'

The United States said Wednesday it hoped the U.N. atomic agency would "very soon" give more detail on new information the watchdog has on possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program.

"The real fear is that Iran is continuing ... and has over many years continued to explore and to develop technologies with no applications other than in the military sphere," Glyn Davies, U.S. envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told reporters.

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U.S., EU Slam Pyongyang at U.N. Atomic Agency

The United States and the European Union sharply criticized North Korea on Wednesday as the board of the U.N. atomic agency was briefed on Pyongyang's nuclear activities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s latest report "is testimony to the long history of the DPRK (North Korea)'s lack of cooperation with the agency," a U.S. statement to the meeting in Vienna said.

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Iran Judiciary Denies Decision Taken on Freeing U.S. Hikers

Iran's judiciary said on Wednesday that no decision has been taken on releasing two U.S. hikers convicted of spying; a day after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the duo would be released soon.

"While denying ... release of two Americans accused of espionage, the public relations of the judiciary announces that the request of the lawyer to post bail and free them is being studied by the case's judge," a statement posted on the judiciary website said.

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French Court Acquits Sarkozy Rival over Smear Scandal

A French appeals court on Wednesday confirmed the acquittal of former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin over a political scandal in which he was accused of smearing President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The public prosecutor had called for the suave potential candidate in next year's presidential election and bitter Sarkozy rival to be given a 15-month suspended sentence in the so-called Clear stream scandal.

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Driver Blamed for Indian Train Crash, 9 Killed

Indian railway officials on Wednesday blamed driver error for a late-night collision between two packed passenger trains that killed nine people and injured more than 80.

Tuesday's crash saw a speeding train ram into a stationary one at a station near Arakkonam, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) from Chennai, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

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19-Hour Taliban Siege of Kabul Ends with 14 Dead

A coordinated Taliban assault on the Afghan capital was quelled Wednesday after raging for 19 hours in a hail of rockets, grenades and suicide blasts that left 14 dead and six foreign troops wounded.

Afghan and foreign troops battled the insurgents who targeted the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters, sowing fear and confusion and raising fresh questions over the government's ability to secure the country even after a ten-year war.

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Republican Wins Race in NY Democrat Stronghold

A Republican businessman has won a special election for a U.S. Congress seat in a Democrat bastion, dealing a major blow to President Barack Obama ahead of the 2012 White House race.

Republicans had portrayed the U.S. congressional race as a referendum on Obama, whose popularity has sunk as Americans have grown increasingly frustrated with the stalled economic recovery and nine percent unemployment.

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Man Kills 2 Children, 4 Adults in China Axe Attack

A farmer with mental health problems killed six people, two of them children, with an axe as they made their way to a kindergarten in China Wednesday, the local government and media reports said.

The incident is the latest in a series of violent assaults on children involving people with suspected psychiatric problems in China, which experts have blamed on rapid social change as the country's economy booms.

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Ahmadinejad Says U.S. Hikers to be Freed 'in Two Days'

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said in interviews Tuesday that Iran would release two U.S. hikers jailed for spying in a couple of days on bail which their lawyer said had been set at $500,000 each.

"I am helping to arrange for their release in a couple of days so they will be able to return home. This is of course going to be a unilateral humanitarian gesture," Ahmadinejad told The Washington Post.

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Pakistan School Bus Attack Kills Four Children

Gunmen ambushed a Pakistani school bus on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing four children and a driver in a hail of bullets, police said.

The attack happened in the Matani area close to Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, which the United States considers the most dangerous region on earth and the global headquarters of al-Qaida.

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