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WORLD BRIEFS


IRAN: Ahmadinejad fires foreign minister

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad abruptly fired his foreign minister Monday and named the nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, as acting top diplomat, the latest sign of a rift at the top levels of the Islamic theocracy. The fired diplomat, Manouchehr Mottaki, is seen as close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad may be aiming to install a figure more loyal to himself as Tehran resumes talks with world powers over the nuclear program that has brought four rounds of UN sanctions.


SWEDEN: Bombing suspect seen as radical

At his local mosque in England, Taimour Abdulwahab alarmed elders with his extreme views on Islam. On the Internet, he posted videos of Chechen fighters and abused Iraqi prisoners. On Saturday, officials say, he died in a botched suicide bombing in Stockholm. Authorities are now trying to learn when he was radicalized, whether he had accomplices - and how a man whose radical views were so public escaped official notice. Swedish prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand said Monday that authorities are certain the suicide bomber who terrified pre-Christmas shoppers was Abdulwahab, an Iraqi-born Swede who spent much of the past decade in Britain. He said Abdulwahab was unknown to Swedish security police before the blasts, which injured two other people.


IVORY COAST: EU to sanction defiant incumbent

The internationally recognized winner of the presidential election said he and his supporters will march on state institutions in a bid to take control, and the European Union agreed on sanctions against the incumbent. Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent, claimed victory in November's balloting and has rebuffed calls from the United States, the EU, former colonial ruler France and the African Union to step down. The UN recognized opposition leader Alassane Ouattara as the winner. Monday, Ouattara raised the stakes by saying he and his supporters will march on government buildings Thursday in a high-risk bid to deprive Gbagbo of the trappings of his presidency.


THE ANTARCTIC: Search for 17 in icy waters called off

New Zealand called off the search Tuesday for 17 fishermen missing more than 30 hours in icy waters after their South Korean fishing boat sank. New Zealand's rescue coordination center said 20 survivors and five dead crewmen had been recovered after the No. 1 Insung went down Monday some 1,400 miles south of New Zealand, about halfway to Antarctica.

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