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WORLD BRIEFS


THAILAND: Troops fire on protesters

Troops opened fire Wednesday into the fortified encampment of anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, ramming armored vehicles into its tire-and-bamboo barricade in what appeared to be a final crackdown after a week of deadly clashes. Army vehicles brought down a section of barricade but troops stayed outside. The government said the push to oust the Red Shirts would go on all day. Troops were seen firing automatic rifles from an overpass. Soldiers also fired from the tracks of an elevated light rail system. "This is D-Day," said one soldier. The Asian metropolis of 10 million has descended into chaos over the last week, with at least 39 people killed.


IRAQ: Avenging insult to prophet

An alleged al-Qaida militant detained in Baghdad said Tuesday he had talked to friends about attacking Danish and Dutch teams at the World Cup in South Africa next month to avenge insults against the Prophet Muhammad. Iraqi security forces holding a Saudi citizen identified as Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani arranged for The Associated Press to interview him at an unidentified government building.


SUDAN: 3 relief workers abducted

The U.S. relief organization operated by evangelist Franklin Graham said Tuesday three of the group's workers have been abducted by armed men in the Darfur region. Samaritan's Purse said in Raleigh, N.C., that the missing workers include two Sudanese and a 36-year-old woman from California. Samaritan's Purse says it has provided $83.7 million in assistance to Sudan over the past decade.


EUROPE: Floods ravage wide area

Flooding in southern Poland has killed at least five people, and the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site was closed Tuesday to protect its Holocaust archives and artifacts. Heavy rains that began in central Europe last weekend are causing flooding in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, with rivers bursting their banks and inundating low-lying homes and roads, and cutting off villages. Thousands of people have been evacuated, and electricity has been knocked out in some areas. Rail travel was paralyzed, rendering some areas unreachable.

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