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In brief: Australia flooding forces evacuations

BRISBANE, Australia – Thousands of Australians huddled in shelters today as torrential rains flooded cities and towns in the northeast, killing four people and prompting about 1,000 helicopter evacuations.

In the hard-hit city of Bundaberg, 240 miles north of Brisbane, rescue crews plucked 1,000 people to safety after the river that runs through town broke its banks, sending fast-moving, muddy water pouring into streets and homes. About 1,500 residents fled to evacuation centers, while patients at the local hospital were being airlifted to Brisbane as a precaution.

Queensland residents and officials were being particularly cautious, after floodwaters from heavy rain in late 2010 and early 2011 left much of the state under water in the worst flooding Australia had seen in decades.

Israel says Iran nuke work slowed

TEL AVIV, Israel – Israeli intelligence officials now estimate that Iran won’t be able to build a nuclear weapon before 2015 or 2016, pushing back by several years previous assessments of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Intelligence briefings given to McClatchy Newspapers over the past two months have confirmed that various officials across Israel’s military and political echelons now think it’s unrealistic that Iran could develop a nuclear weapons arsenal before 2015. Others pushed the date back even further, to the winter of 2016.

Reports that Iran’s nuclear facility at Fordow had been damaged in a nuclear explosion were still being investigated Monday, Israeli officials said.

Satellite imagery shared with McClatchy Newspapers showed that new fortifications had been built around the perimeter of the facility.

Canada to USA: Declare weapons

DETROIT – Canada has a message for Americans: Don’t bring guns across the border.

The Canada Border Services Agency made the plea Monday after border services officers discovered undeclared weapons five times – four incidents involving Michigan residents – since Jan. 10, CBSA spokeswoman Jean D’Amelio Swyer said.

“Don’t bring your guns into Canada,” Swyer said emphatically. “Leave your firearms at home. But if by chance they do have a firearm in the car, it is imperative that they declare it.”

Those found with weapons can face fines, jail time or both. The first time border agents find an undeclared weapon, the vehicle involved is held until payment of a fine of $1,000 per weapon, Swyer added.

But if those crossing the border tell agents they have a legal gun, the agency will either allow them to return to the United States or hold the weapon until they leave Canada, according to Swyer.


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