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World in brief: Test-fire prompts calls for sanctions

Thu., Dec. 17, 2009, midnight

Tehran, Iran – Iran on Wednesday test-fired an upgraded version of an advanced missile capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe, an apparent show of strength aimed at discouraging attacks on its nuclear facilities.

The test of the medium-range Sajjil-2 fueled calls for tougher sanctions against Tehran, which has resisted U.N. demands that it rein in its nuclear ambitions. Iran touted the launch as a success proving it can deter any U.S. or Israeli military strike against its nuclear facilities.

Wednesday’s test was the third for the Sajjil-2 since it was unveiled in May. The missile has the longest range of any in Iran’s arsenal, about 1,200 miles – putting Israel, Iran’s sworn enemy, and U.S. bases in the Gulf region well within reach.

Inquiry targets warlord payouts

Washington, D.C. – Congress is investigating allegations that U.S. tax dollars are being paid to warlords and the Taliban for security on supply routes used to truck food, water, fuel and ammunition to American troops in Afghanistan.

If the allegations are true, then the U.S. would be unintentionally involved in a protection racket and indirectly financing the enemy, said Rep. John Tierney, the Massachusetts Democrat leading the inquiry, on Wednesday.

The Obama administration is escalating the U.S. mission in Afghanistan amid concerns that corruption throughout the country is a major roadblock to progress.

Boy, 2, treated for needles in body

Sao Paulo, Brazil – A 2-year-old boy has as many as 50 metal sewing needles inside his body, apparently stuck there one by one, a doctor treating him said Wednesday. Brazilian media said the boy’s ex-stepfather was detained.

Dr. Luiz Cesar Soltoski said surgeons hope to remove most of the needles – some as long as 2 inches – but those in the lungs will have to wait until the child’s breathing improves.

Some needles cannot be removed as they are too close to vital organs or even inside organs, Soltoski said.

The boy’s mother, a maid, took him to a hospital in the small northeastern city of Ibotirama last Thursday, saying he was complaining of pain.

She told police she didn’t know how the needles got inside her son.

But police Wednesday night detained an ex-stepfather of the boy who confessed, according to Brazil’s Globo TV.

The boy’s father earlier told the newspaper A Tarde that he believed his son could have been a victim of a black magic ritual.


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