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5 released, 7 held in terrorism probe

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- Dutch authorities on Sunday cleared five of the 12 Somali men who were detained Christmas Eve on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack in the Netherlands.

Prosecutors said they had no evidence of criminal involvement against the five men, but the investigation of the other seven was continuing.

They must decide by Tuesday whether to bring the remaining detainees before a judge or let them go.

The men were picked up in Rotterdam after a tip from intelligence services that an attack may be imminent. No information was released on the purported target, although Rotterdam is one of Europe's biggest commercial hubs with a huge port and large oil and gas storage facilities.

Three of the detainees who had no valid residency permits were turned over to immigration police, prosecutors said. Two of them were residents of Denmark, and the residency of the third was not established. Two Dutch residents were released.


New units to operate in al-Qaida areas

SANA, Yemen (AP) -- Yemen is setting up provincial anti-terrorism units to confront al-Qaida in its heartland, a security official said Sunday.

Yemen already has highly trained, U.S.-funded anti-terrorism security units, operating under the military and the interior ministry. But this is the first time officials have said the units will be based in al-Qaida territory.

The U.S. has been pressuring Yemen to take on al-Qaida, whose presence has grown in the impoverished country and has increasingly been organizing attacks abroad from its havens in Yemen.

The U.S. has been actively involved in battling al-Qaida in Yemen, but Washington has often complained of lack of cooperation in information sharing and lack of determination from Yemen to take on the militant group.


President threatens relentless retaliation

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea's president vowed a relentless retaliation against North Korea if provoked again, saying today he is not afraid of a war with the communist North.

The two Koreas have ramped up their rhetoric since North Korea shelled front-line Yeonpyeong Island near the tense western sea border last month, killing four South Koreans. Both sides accuse each other of initiating hostilities.

"We have now been awakened to the realization that war can be prevented and peace assured only when such provocations are met with a strong response," President Lee Myung-bak said in his weekly address.

South Korea has staged a series of military drills -- including one on Yeonpyeong Island on Dec. 20 -- in a show of force against the North.


Economist detained after criticizing cuts

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- An Iranian news agency says authorities have confirmed that remarks by an economist critical of the government's subsidy cuts were the reason for his detention.

The Sunday report by the semiofficial Mehr news agency quotes Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi, Tehran's chief prosecutor, as saying Fariborz Raeis Dana was detained because he criticized the government's pricing program.

Last week fuel prices surged 400 percent and the price of bread doubled because of subsidy cuts. Analysts said the moves appeared to show that Western sanctions over Iran's nuclear program were having some effect.

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