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An emergency meeting between senior Iranians and the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency ended with no word on its outcome. The IAEA is due to report Friday to the UN Security Council on Iranian compliance with demands that enrichment of uranium cease, and it is expected to say that the Islamic republic has not been cooperative. The Iranians were not believed to have brought any offer of concessions with them.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged an "immediate" international conference to resolve conflicts with Israel and offered assurances that his rivals in the new Hamas-led government would not be an obstacle. The US, Russia, the European Union, or the UN should mediate such talks, Abbas said. The proposal drew a cool response from Israel, whose foreign ministry said a formula for resuming negotiations already exists in the stalled "road map" to peace, which calls for an ultimate Palestinian state but only as the final phase.

Air Force planes pounded Tamil areas of northern Sri Lanka for a second straight day following yet another apparent rebel attack, and thousands of noncombatants reportedly were fleeing in panic. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) claimed the airstrikes killed 12 people and wounded 27 others who couldn't be transported to hospitals because roads were closed. An LTTE spokesman threatened retaliation if the attacks continued. Truce monitors rejected suggestions that the two sides are headed for a return to all-out civil war but called "what is going on" a serious violation of the 2002 cease-fire.

The blockade of major highways in Nepal was lifted by communist rebels Wednesday after King Gyanendra's decision to reinstate Parliament. But they said the nation's political parties had until Friday to begin rewriting the Constitution with the aim of limiting or even eliminating the monarchy. The blockade had cut supply routes to Kathmandu, the capital, and other cities for food and cooking fuel.


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