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France would consider rejoining NATO's military command if French officials take a major role in the command structure and the US accepts progress on European defense, President Nicolas Sarkozy was quoted Monday in The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.

France has been a member of NATO since it was founded in 1949, but Gen. Charles de Gaulle pulled France out of NATO's integrated military structure in 1966.

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Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday said Israel is not interested in violent conflict with Syria, adding that he is confident that recent tensions between the countries will subside, Israeli media reported. Olmert's comments, made before a closed meeting at the Israeli parliament, were his latest attempt to ease worries about a possible conflict with Syria after a reported Israeli airstrike in Syria Sept. 6. Israel has never publicly acknowledged an incursion.

India's ruling Congress party named Rahul Gandhi, heir of the Nehru-Gandhi family, as one of its general secretaries on Monday, in an apparent indication it was gearing up for possible early polls. The appointment comes as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's coalition government struggles to retain the support of communist allies.

Hizbullah and its allies said on Monday they would boycott a parliamentary session to prevent the anti-Syrian majority from electing a new president for Lebanon. Police and troops clamped extra security around the assembly building in Beirut before Tuesday's session.

Iran closed major border crossings with northeastern Iraq on Monday to protest the US detention of an Iranian official the military accused of weapons smuggling, a Kurdish official said. The move threatens the economy of Iraq's northern region and also appears aimed at driving a wedge between Iraq and the Americans at a time of friction over a deadly shooting in Baghdad involving a US security firm.

Israeli archaeologists said they have discovered a quarry that provided King Herod with the huge stones he used to renovate the biblical Second Temple compound – offering rare insight into construction of the holiest site in Judaism.

The source of the huge stones used 2,000 years ago to reconstruct the compound in Jerusalem's Old City was discovered on the site of a proposed school in a Jerusalem suburb.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday that Britain will maintain its close alliance with the United States in the fight against global terrorism, but warned that force alone will not be enough. In his first speech to a Labour party conference as its leader, he vowed to work with allies to "isolate extremism" and "win the battle of hearts and minds" In the future, he said, Britain's parliament will be given the final say on sending troops to war.

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A technological innovation that translates spoken or written words into British Sign Language has been developed by IBM, according to BBC News. The system will allow deaf people to have simultaneous sign-language interpretations of oral presentations.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Monday that he will defend Brazil's record on global climate change when he addresses the UN Tuesday.Brazil is one of the world's largest carbon gas emitters, due largely to the destruction of the Amazon rain forest.

But Lula said Amazon deforestation had fallen 25 percent in the year through July 2006.


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