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Rainy weather didn't appear to be keeping Israelis from voting Tuesday in a national election that tightened in the hours before polls opened. Final opinion surveys showed the Kadima party of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni closing the gap with presumed favorite Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, with 15 percent of voters saying they still were undecided.

Emergency crews struggled against strong winds to control "about 25" wildfires still raging Tuesday in southern Australia. Authorities raised the number of human deaths so far to 181 and projected that it would exceed 200. They also began a wide-scale investigation to catch suspected arsonists and charge them with murder or at least manslaughter.

Nineteen refugees were shot to death by Tamil rebels as they fled Sri Lanka's war zone, a military spokesman said Tuesday. Citing reports by other noncombatants, he said 69 more were wounded. If confirmed, the attack would be the second in two days by separatist rebels against civilians trying to escape fighting with government forces.


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