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In brief: Phony dollars stream into Iraq

Nasiriyah, Iraq – At least $4 million in counterfeit U.S. currency has flooded into Iraq since December, and U.S. and Iraqi officials are trying to determine how much of the counterfeiting is purely criminal and how much might be an Iranian attempt to influence Iraqi politics.

While some of the bills were crudely made and easily detected, U.S. military officials said, much of the money seized so far has been sophisticated fake $100 notes that require special printing presses, ink and paper.

Bomb blasts kill nine at festival

Yangon, Myanmar – Three bomb blasts at a holiday festival killed nine people in Myanmar’s biggest city in the deadliest attack in five years in the country ruled by an iron-fisted regime.

No indication was given as to who was suspected in the blasts, which occurred about 3 p.m. Thursday near 20 pavilions erected for celebrations at the sprawling Kandawgyi Lake. Myanmar is celebrating its annual four-day water festival when people drench each other with water to usher in the Myanmar New Year on Saturday.