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A lengthy invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli ground troops "is necessary" to stop Palestinian rocket attacks, a senior architect of military policy said Thursday. Maj. Gen Moshe Kaplinsky told newspaper interviewers that such an operation is "a question of timing." Other senior officers have said that an invasion probably would not come until after the US-sponsored peace conference next month. Israel has tried unsuccessfully to end the rocket fire via airstrikes and quick missions on the ground.

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan will not honor a request to delay her return from exile and plans to fly home next Thursday, aides said. Embattled President Pervez Musharraf called on her to postpone the trip until after the Supreme Court rules on his eligibility for a new five-year term. The court is not expected to resume deliberations on that issue until Wednesday. If the justices rule in Musharraf's favor, he has promised to give up the post of Army chief. He won a new term last weekend in a vote by members of parliament, which is under challenge by his opponents.

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Terrorists in Iraq staged two of their most effective attacks in months Thursday. A rocket or mortar shell landed on Camp Victory, headquarters of the US military mission, near Baghdad's airport, killing at least two soldiers and wounding 40 others. In Kirkuk, 180 miles north of the capital, a car bomb exploded near a busy market in a Kurdish neighborhood where people were buying food for the Ramadan-ending feast of Eid al-Fitr. Seven people died and at least 50 others were hurt, reports said. The city's police general, who was among the injured, appeared to be the target.

With peace negotiations on Darfur looming, an influential political party from southern Sudan suspended participation in the two-year-old national unity government. A spokesman for the People's Liberation Movement said it wouldn't return until its demands were met. Among them: withdrawal from the south of Army units made up of northerners and "the evolution of democracy." Relations between northern and southern politicians have been described as "poisonous."

At least 4 million more people will be displaced from the area behind China's massive Three Gorges Dam to protect its "ecological safety," the official Xinhua news agency reported Thursday. It said the relocations could take up to 15 years. More than 1 million people already have lost their homes due to construction of the world's largest hydropower project. But last month, government officials admitted that the resulting erosion, silting, and other problems are threatening to make it an "environmental catastrophe."

With thousands of people demonstrating outside (above), debate opened in Nepal's parliament on a demand by communists that the monarchy be abolished immediately and replaced with a president. The communists, who withdrew from the interim coalition government over the summer, have threatened to collapse it if their demand isn't met. But they and their supporters hold only 87 of the 328 seats in the legislature. The 132-member Congress Party has vowed to vote against the motion.

Elections officials denied Other Russia, a vocal political alliance opposed to President Vladimir Putin, permission to contest the Dec. 2 vote for a new parliament. The alliance founded by former world chess champion Gary Kasparov, was informed that it could not list candidates for office because it isn't registered as a party. The ruling was expected; Kasparov has acknowledged that its effort was aimed at drawing attention to Putin's tight control over Russian politics.

Doris Lessing (below), whose writings have explored themes ranging from black-white relations in Africa to feminism to science fiction, was announced as the 2007 Nobel laureate in literature Thursday. She is the second Briton in three years to win the $1.5 million prize. Playwright and poet Harold Pinter won it in 2005.