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In brief: Derailed train holds diesel-like liquid

Calgary, Alberta – A train derailed on a collapsing Canada bridge near Calgary, threatening to send five rail cars carrying a diesel-like substance into a river, officials said Thursday.

Efforts were underway to keep the cars from falling off the slowly sagging bridge and then pump out the yet-unspecified but potentially flammable liquid.

The train derailed after a section of the bridge dropped two feet Thursday morning. A Canadian Pacific spokesman said the bridge gave way after most of the eastbound train had crossed. Officials said it was too early to say whether the structural failure was due specifically to last week’s flooding.

Iraq open to more U.S. military relations

Bagdhad – Iraq is open to greater American military cooperation as U.S. commanders explore ways to boost security assistance to the country, a top Iraqi official said Thursday as a fresh wave of bombings claimed 16 lives.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, has recommended that American military commanders look for ways to help improve the military capabilities of Iraq and Lebanon, which both face the risk of spillover from the civil war in neighboring Syria.

Ali al-Moussawi, the media adviser for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said Baghdad would welcome increased arms sales and faster weapons deliveries along with U.S. training teams to help it confront rising regional instability and terrorist threats.

McDonald’s refuses West Bank opening

Jerusalem – The McDonald’s restaurant chain refused to open a branch in a West Bank Jewish settlement, the company said Thursday, adding a prominent name to an international movement to boycott Israel’s settlements.

Irina Shalmor, spokeswoman for McDonald’s Israel, said the owners of a planned mall in the Ariel settlement asked McDonald’s to open a branch there about six months ago. Shalmor said the chain refused because the owner of McDonald’s Israel has a policy of staying out of the occupied territories.

The decision was not coordinated with McDonald’s headquarters in the U.S., she said.


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Early exit polls show strong support to lift Ireland ban on abortion

UPDATED: 3:05 p.m.

Ireland’s referendum Friday represented more than a vote on whether to end the country’s strict abortion ban. It was a battle for the very soul of a traditionally conservative Roman Catholic nation that has seen a wave of liberalization in recent years.