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U.S. Urges NATO Allies Not to Rush Out of Afghanistan

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged NATO allies Thursday not to rush out of Afghanistan as he vowed that a U.S. troop drawdown next month would not mean a hasty exit for Washington.

Gates, who attended his final NATO meeting in Brussels before retiring at the end of the month, said the alliance was making "substantial military progress on the ground" and repeated that it was too early know the impact of Osama bin Laden's death on the war.

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U.S. Slams Iran over Uranium Enrichment Plans

The United States on Thursday slammed Iran over its plans to triple its uranium enrichment capacity in defiance of multiple U.N. sanctions.

The move was "the most recent brazen example of (Iran's) deepening non-compliance" with its international obligations, U.S. envoy Glyn Davies told the 35-member board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency at a meeting here.

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India Tests Nuclear-Capable Missile

India tested a short-range nuclear-capable missile along its eastern coast on Thursday, an official said, as part of the nation's efforts to build up its atomic deterrent.

The surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile was fired from a range in the eastern state of Orissa and hit its target in the Bay of Bengal successfully, the defense ministry official said.

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Gunmen Kill Prison Warden in Northern Nigeria

Gunmen killed a prison warden and a traditional chief in Nigeria's northern state of Bauchi where a radical Islamist sect is active, police said Wednesday.

A neighborhood leader who also works as a prison warden, Ibrahim Ali Figidi, was gunned down outside his house by two men who fled on a motorcycle in the typical hit-and-run style of the Boko Haram sect.

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9 Dead in Attack on Afghan Wedding Party

Nine people were killed and five others wounded when gunmen attacked a wedding party in eastern Afghanistan overnight, a provincial spokesman said Thursday.

The groom was a relative of the district chief in Dur Baba of Nangarhar province, and women and children were among the casualties, said the spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai.

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3 Chinese Oil Workers Kidnapped by Colombian Rebels

Three Chinese workers for the British oil company Emerald Energy have been taken hostage in southern Colombia, officials said Thursday, blaming the kidnapping on FARC guerillas.

A fourth foreigner, who was working as a translator, was also taken hostage, said Edilberto Ramon Henido, secretary of the local government in southern Caqueta department, but he could not confirm the man's nationality.

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8 Soldiers, 10 Taliban Dead in Attack on Pakistani Checkpoint

Eight soldiers and at least 10 Taliban were killed after the militants attacked a Pakistani security checkpost in the lawless tribal belt before dawn Thursday, local security officials said.

More than 100 Taliban armed with rocket launchers and other sophisticated weapons raided the post in South Waziristan, along the Afghan border, triggering a firefight which lasted for more than three hours.

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U.N. Envoy: Rape in Abyei, Darfur Camps Denied Aid

The U.N. human rights envoy for Sudan on Wednesday highlighted reports of rape in Abyei after the army's occupation last month and criticized Khartoum for failing to provide essential aid to newly displaced Darfuris since January.

"I received allegations of killings, rape and other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment during and subsequent to the attack" on Abyei, Mohamed Chande Othman told a news conference in Khartoum at the end of an eight-day visit.

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Iran to Triple Capacity to Enrich 20% Uranium, Paris Slams 'Provocation'

Iran plans to triple its capacity to purify uranium later this year when it transfers the work from the central city of Natanz to the Fordo site, the country's nuclear chief said on Wednesday.

"We will transfer the 20 percent enrichment from Natanz to the Fordo site this year, under the supervision of the (International Atomic Energy) Agency," Fereydoon Abbasi Davani was quoted as saying by state television's website.

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Zawahiri Vows to Pursue Bin Laden's 'Jihad'

Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's long-time number two, has vowed in a video eulogy to Osama bin Laden to pursue his late leader's "jihad" against the West, SITE Intelligence Group reported Wednesday.

"We will pursue the jihad until we expel the invaders from Muslim lands," he was quoted as saying in a eulogy for Bin Laden who was killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan on May 2.

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