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VOA News reported on January 29 that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who was in Paris meeting with senior French officials — said that China is under pressure to join in new sanctions against Iran over Tehran's refusal to reveal details of its nuclear-fuel enrichment program. Iran has consistently denied that it is developing nuclear weapons.

One of Saddam Hussein's most notorious henchmen, Ali Hassan al-Majid — known as "Chemical Ali" for masterminding the poison-gas killing of some 5,000 ethnic Kurds in a village in northern Iraq — was executed January 25, a week after receiving his death sentence by an Iraqi court. Majid, 68, was Hussein's cousin and one of the last high-ranking officials in the regime to be tried and sentenced.

Reuters news reports that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will make a long-awaited appearance before an inquiry into the Iraq War on January 29. Britain originally sent a force of 45,000 troops to Iraq, as part of the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

During a news conference held in New Delhi, India, on January 20, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that al-Qaeda, and what he called its "syndicate" in South Asia, could provoke a new war between India and Pakistan.

The Middle East-based al Jazeera news network reported on January 20 that Yemeni fighter jets have conducted an attack against the home of Ayed al-Shabwani a suspected al-Qaeda leader. The raids took place in Erq al Shabwan village in Maarib province, about 80 miles east of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

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