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29th June; 19:05

US

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US President George W. Bush, battling growing domestic opposition to the Iraq conflict, acknowledged "horrifying" violence there but rejected calls for a withdrawal timetable or troop reinforcements.

Afghanistan

A US helicopter that crashed in Afghanistan with 17 servicemen on board was probably shot down, the military said, in what was believed to be the first such incident since the fall of the Taliban.

EU

The European Union vowed to "stick to its word" to Turkey and start entry talks in October despite turmoil in the bloc, while stressing there is no guarantee of eventual EU membership.

Iran

Iran's president-elect Mahmood Ahmadinejad hailed his election triumph as a new Islamic revolution that could spread throughout the world, in a shift away from previously moderate post-vote rhetoric.

NKorea

Communist North Korea has at least one to two nuclear weapons, but the United States and South Korea could still defeat it in any war, the commander of US forces in the South said.

Health

The WHO admitted it is unlikely to meet its goal of getting anti-HIV drugs to three million poor people by the end of 2005 and called for another 18 billion dollars to fight AIDS over the next three years.

Philippines

Embattled Philippine leader Gloria Arroyo said her corruption-tainted husband is quitting the country indefinitely as a public inquiry resumed into claims she rigged last year's presidential vote.

Mideast

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vowed to show an iron fist against "hooligans" trying to prevent this summer's pullout from the Gaza Strip as opponents of the withdrawal staged a mass blockade of the nation's roads.

Lebanon

Militia from the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah bombarded an Israeli army position in the disputed Shebaa Farms border area, wounding at least one Israeli and prompting an air raid in retaliation, security forces and the Israeli military said.

SAfrica

Ivory Coast foes pledged to begin disarming immediately and agreed they would face sanctions from the African Union if they failed to make good on their peace commitments for the west African country.

Canada

Canada's parliament passed a bill legalising same sex marriages -- but opponents vow to keep up their battle against the move.

US

New York leaders unveiled a revised, truck bomb-resistant design for the "Freedom Tower" -- the soaring skyscraper that will form the focal point of the rebuilt World Trade Center site.

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