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Former minister’s broadside puts Blair credibility at stake

Robert MacPherson
LONDON, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s credibility was back on the line Tuesday after a former senior cabinet minister accused him of losing his sense of "purpose and direction".

Two British soldiers among 38 killed in Afghanistan attacks

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – Two British soldiers were killed in a battle with Taliban rebels in southern Afghanistan Tuesday while two civilians died in a suicide blast aimed at a German patrol in the north.

Main points of the Palestinian conciliation document

GAZA CITY, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – All Palestinian factions except Islamic Jihad reached an agreement Tuesday on a "national conciliation document" which implicitly recognises Israel’s right to exist, sources in Fatah and Hamas said.

Nine in court in South Africa after bloody gunbattle

JOHANNESBURG, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – Nine men arrested after a shootout left four policemen and eight armed robbers dead in a central Johannesburg suburb over the weekend briefly appeared in a South African court on Tuesday.

Pessotto critical after first floor fall

TURIN, Italy, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – Italian giants Juventus’ problems deepened on Tuesday as team manager Gianluca Pessotto was described as being in a critical condition after jumping from his second floor office in an apparent suicide attempt.

Gaza Strip timeline

GAZA CITY, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – Key events in the Gaza Strip since the Israeli withdrawal last year which ended a 38-year occupation:

August 2005: Under the leadership of then prime minister Ariel Sharon, Israel begins withdrawing its occupation forces and some 8,000 settlers from the strip of territory it had seized from Egypt during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The pullout is completed in September.

European secret services colluded in CIA terror transfers

STRASBOURG, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – European secret services colluded in the detention and secret transfer of terrorist suspects in or across the continent, the author of a key report on the CIA rendition flights said Tuesday.

Dick Marty, a Swiss parliamentarian who compiled the report for the Council of Europe rights watchdog, said there was no doubt of collaboration.

"It has been proved that agents from national intelligence services colluded in the handing over and the transportation of persons suspected of terrorism," he told members of the pan-European body’s parliamentary assembly.

HIV/AIDS on the rise among Iranian addicts

TEHRAN, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – The number of HIV/AIDS infections in Iran is far higher than previously thought because of a large rise in intravenous drug use, a health ministry official was quoted as saying Tuesday.

"About 40,000 of the total number of intravenous drug addicts are infected with HIV," said Iran’s deputy health minister, Moayed Alavian.

Son of Italy’s arrested prince does ‘not agree’ with father’s actions

ROME, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – Emmanuel Philibert, son of Italy’s Prince Victor Emmanuel, distanced himself from his father who was arrested on suspicion of providing prostitutes and illegal slot machines to a casino, in a newspaper interview published on Tuesday.

"I do not agree with everything my father has done," Emmanuel Philibert told the Italian daily La Repubblica.

"Each one of us is different. That happens between parents and children, it’s normal. But I am not here to judge my father. I must think of his health and hope this affair ends quickly," said the 34-year-old Emmanuel Philibert.

Rice to visit Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was due Tuesday in Pakistan for talks on regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism, said she would go on to neighbouring Afghanistan.

Rice will briefly travel to Kabul on Wednesday to meet the US-backed President Hamid Karzai, whom she described as an "extraordinary leader".

"This is somebody who has taken this country from civil war and virtually total destruction, in four years, to an honourable position in the international community," Rice said while en route from Washington in remarks that journalists were not allowed to use earlier.