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15th June; 19:00

Iraq

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Thirty-one people were killed in two suicide bombings in Iraq, including 23 at an Iraqi army base canteen, as Iraqi forces rescued an Australian hostage held for almost six weeks.

EU

The European Union is rushing headlong towards deadlock on its future financing at a pivotal summit, the presidency warned, as France piled pressure on a reluctant Britain to give up its multi-billion-euro budget rebate.

Spain

Spanish authorities have arrested 16 suspected Islamic extremists, some linked to the bloody unrest in Iraq and others to last year's deadly Madrid train bombings, the interior ministry said.

Iran

Iran has admitted to processing plutonium, a potential material for atomic bombs, more recently than it originally reported, according to the draft of a report to be made to the UN nuclear agency and obtained by AFP.

Iran

Iranian presidential hopefuls pulled out all stops to tip the balance in the Islamic republic's tightest-ever election, scenting the chance to push frontrunner Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani into a second round.

Pakistan

Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar are both alive and in good health after more than three years on the run, a senior Taliban commander said in an interview broadcast.

US

Officials defended the US right to hold more than 500 suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as lawmakers examined whether the controversial detention center should remain open and under what rules.

Nigeria

A militant group in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region kidnapped two German and four Nigerian workers of a contractor firm providing service for oil giant Anglo-Dutch Shell, an official of Shell said.

OPEC

OPEC adopted a two-pronged plan to tackle high oil prices and supply problems, raising the cartel's oil production ceiling next month and promising another increase later if prices do not fall.

US

A major earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale shook the seabed off California sparking a brief tsunami alert which sent residents scurrying for higher ground.

US

Prosecutor Tom Sneddon, who brought the sexual molestation case against Michael Jackson to trial before the pop superstar was acquitted of all 10 charges on Monday, said Jackson's young accuser was "very down" after the verdict.

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