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Generals and colonels were among 1,300 soldiers and police stripped of their duties by Iraq's government Sunday for refusing to fight Shiite militants in Basra and other cities. The offensive last month was ordered by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and was the largest to date against the Mahdi militia of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. It was carried out almost entirely by Iraqi forces with little help from US or British infantry units.

Weeks of deadlock ended Sunday over the power-sharing government in Kenya as President Mwai Kibaki announced his "grand coalition" cabinet with opposition leader Raila Odinga at its head. The assistant leader of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement was named as deputy prime minister. In the ethnic violence that followed the nation's Dec. 27 presidential election, more than 1,200 people died and hundreds of thousands of others fled their homes.

Authorities in Iran appeared unwilling to label a powerful explosion that ripped through a mosque Saturday night as an act of terrorism. Eleven people were killed and 191 others were hurt, some of them critically, in the blast in the southern city of Shiraz. There were no early claims of responsibility, and provincial police said investigators had found traces of ammunition left over from "a defense fair" that recently was held in the mosque.


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