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Backyard digger finds medieval jewelry trove

VIENNA (AP) -- A man turning dirt in his backyard stumbled onto buried treasure -- hundreds of pieces of centuries-old jewelry and other precious objects that Austrian authorities described Friday as a fairy-tale find.

Austria's department in charge of national antiquities said the trove consists of more than 200 rings, brooches, ornate belt buckles, gold-plated silver plates and other pieces or fragments, many encrusted with pearls, fossilized coral and other ornaments. It said the objects are about 650 years old and are being evaluated to determine their origin and worth.

While the Federal Office for Memorials did not assign a monetary value to the buried bling, the enthusiastic language from the normally staid agency reflected the significance it attached to the discovery. "Fairy tales still exist!" it said.

It described the ornaments as "one of the qualitatively most significant discoveries of medieval treasure in Austria."

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Baghdad urged to act on keeping U.S. troops

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The top U.S. military officer said Friday that Iraq must act very soon if it wants American forces to stay longer in the country, as discussions intensify over whether to keep any troops past this year.

Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters in Baghdad that time is running out for negotiations over an extended American troop presence.

He emphasized the U.S. position that it would consider any request by the Iraqi government to keep American forces in the country past their expected Dec. 31 departure date but said that so far Baghdad has not asked the United States to do so.

"Should the Iraqi government desire to discuss the potential for some U.S. troops to stay, I am certain my government will welcome that dialogue. But it needs to start soon, very soon," Mullen said.

When pressed on how much time the Iraqi government had, Mullen said it was a matter of weeks. Under an agreement between the two nations, all American forces are to leave by the end of this year.

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