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Despite the recent spike in violence in Iraq, 3,500 US troops will be withdrawn over the next several weeks, military spokesmen said Tuesday. One-third already have left in line with President Bush's plan to extract all of the 30,000 "surge" forces sent to Iraq last year, the spokesmen said.

The ex-Soviet republic of Georgia is "very close" to war with Russia, a senior government official said, citing the arrival of fresh troops in the breakaway Abkhazia region. Tensions between the two have been mounting steadily since Georgia claimed one of its unmanned drones was shot down over Abkhazia last month. The tension rose higher still Tuesday as Abkhazian separatist leaders said they were ready to hand over military control there to Russia.

An unidentified foreign witness will be subpoenaed to testify in a new corruption investigation against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, reports said Tuesday. A gag order is keeping details of the case from being published, but analysts said it raises questions about Olmert's ability to continue peace efforts with the Palestinians and could embarrass him as world leaders arrive to help Israel celebrate its 60th anniversary next week. Olmert has been investigated four other times since taking office but never indicted.

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