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World briefs

PAKISTAN: U.S. to train forces

The U.S. military is planning to set up new training centers inside Pakistan where American special operations trainers would work with Pakistani forces close to the Afghan border battle zone, a senior defense official said. The new centers would supplement two already operating in Pakistan, and they would be used to accelerate and expand the training of Pakistani forces considered key to rooting out al-Qaida leaders hiding along the mountainous border, the official said.

BRAZIL: Violence before Carnival

Gunfire erupted Thursday in a Rio de Janeiro slum, killing at least seven suspected drug traffickers and a policeman a day before Carnival celebrations kick off. A police spokesman said the gun battle in the Jacarezinho slum started while police were on a routine patrol. He declined to be quoted by name, citing department policy. Jacarezinho is located far from the tourist areas and the Carnival parties that open Friday.

AFGHANISTAN: Target: Taliban

U.S. and Afghan forces ringed the Taliban stronghold of Marjah Thursday, sealing off escape routes and setting the stage for what is being described as the biggest offensive of the nine-year war. Taliban defenders repeatedly fired rockets and mortars at units poised in foxholes along the edge of the town, apparently trying to lure NATO forces into skirmishes before the big attack.

HONG KONG: A surprise reversal

U.S. citizen Nancy Kissel has always maintained that she killed her investment banker husband in self-defense, fending off a physical and sexual attack, but a Hong Kong jury found her guilty four years ago of sedating him with a laced milkshake before bludgeoning him to death. In a stunning reversal Thursday, however, the territory's highest court overturned that conviction, ordering a retrial in the case that has grabbed headlines.

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