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Possible link to Iraq seen in Taliban attacks

KABUL -- An onslaught of sophisticated attacks since parliamentary elections in September has left Afghan and US officials concerned that Taliban guerrillas are obtaining support from abroad to carry out strikes. The recent attacks, including at least nine suicide bombings, have shown coordination and technical knowledge characteristic of the Iraq insurgent attacks led by Al Qaeda, officials said. (Washington Post)

IRAN

3 EU nations agree on nuclear talks

TEHRAN -- Britain, France, and Germany agreed yesterday to hold talks with Iran on resuming negotiations on the country's disputed nuclear program. An EU official said the letter omitted the previous European condition that negotiations on long-term cooperation could only restart if Iran resumed a full suspension of activities related to uranium enrichment, which could help it produce weapons. (Reuters)

BRAZIL

Legislators warn of constitutional crisis

BRASILIA -- Irate members of the Brazilian congress are to call today for Supreme Court judges to change their votes and withdraw support for a former presidential aide involved in a political corruption case. They said the court's involvement in the case of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's former chief of staff Jose Dirceu could lead to a constitutional crisis. The court is tied, 5 to 5, and a tie-breaking vote is due Wednesday. (Reuters)

HONDURAS

Polls show tight race for the presidency

TEGUCIGALPA -- Honduran voters choosing a president yesterday were split between a leftist-turned-conservative who promises to wipe out violent crime with the death penalty and a rival who vows to end widespread corruption. Polls showed a tight race between Porfirio Lobo Sosa of the governing National Party and the Liberal Party candidate, Manuel Zelaya. It was the seventh election since military rule was abandoned in 1981. (AP)

ZIMBABWE

Turnout put at 15% in Senate elections

HARARE -- Most of Zimbabwe's electorate, struggling with a failing economy, chose not to vote in an election for a new Senate won by the ruling party before a ballot was cast. Observers said the average voter turnout in Saturday's election could end up at about 15 percent of the country's 3.2 million registered voters. President Robert Mugabe's party began the election as a sure winner, with most seats reserved for it. (Reuters)

GERMANY

New chancellor pledges to improve ties with US

BERLIN -- Germany's new chancellor, Angela Merkel, pledged yesterday to strengthen relations with the United States, with her top diplomat heading for Washington today. In an interview to be published today in Focus magazine, Merkel promised that Berlin would have ''a more intensive" relationship with Washington. Those ties suffered from the vocal opposition to the war in Iraq voiced by the former chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder. (AP)

UKRAINE

Clinton urges patience with leaders, reform

KIEV -- President Clinton yesterday praised the changes in Ukraine since last year's Orange Revolution but counseled Ukrainians to have patience. ''It takes time to build the kind of vibrant, progressive, forward-moving nation that you are all working to build," Clinton said at a news conference with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. He has offered his foundation's help to the republic in its struggle against HIV and AIDS. (AP)

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