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AROUND THE WORLD

> FINLAND

Shooting suspect held in killing of two

HELSINKI (AP) -- An 18-year-old gunman killed two people and wounded seven others in what appeared to be a random shooting in a southern Finnish town, police said Saturday.

Officers arrested the suspect near Hyvinkaa, some five hours after he fired several shots from a rooftop at people gathered outside a restaurant just before 2 a.m., said Detective Chief Inspector Markku Tuominen.

The suspect, a local man from Hyvinkaa, 30 miles north of the capital, Helsinki, did not resist arrest, Tuominen said.

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> IRAQ

Factions urged to resolve dispute

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's president on Saturday urged the nation's bickering factions to resolve the bitter political dispute that has gripped the government for nearly six months, warning that the crisis threatens to split the country.

President Jalal Talabani's statement, posted on his website, is the latest plea for an end to the crisis that has engulfed Iraq since Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government issued an arrest warrant for the country's Sunni vice president in December -- just as the last U.S. troops left the country.

Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish politicians have been holding meetings for weeks to discuss how to resolve the deadlock, including whether to try to push al-Maliki to step down before the end of his four-year term in 2014. Al-Maliki's critics accuse him of consolidating power and sidelining both Sunnis and Kurds, touching off a political impasse that has brought government work to a near standstill.

Already, the president of Iraq's northern self-rule Kurdish region has said he will hold a popular referendum on whether to secede if the deadlock is not solved by local elections set for September.