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AROUND THE WORLD

> IRAQ

22 killed as dual blasts jar mainly Shiite south

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Twin explosions, including a suicide car bombing outside a government compound, killed at least 22 people Tuesday in a rare attack in the mainly Shiite south, signaling that insurgents could be trying to expand their reach.

The violence comes as Iraqi officials are weighing whether to ask some of the roughly 47,000 U.S. troops still in the country to stay past this year. Many are concerned that Iraqi forces aren't ready to take over their own security and that al-Qaida-linked militants will try to take advantage of the vacuum.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for Tuesday's strike in Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad. But the fact that it was a suicide bomber targeting an Iraqi government building pointed to Sunni extremists such as al-Qaida in Iraq.

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> BRITAIN

Restored cathedral marks tricentennial

LONDON (AP) -- St. Paul's Cathedral celebrated its 300th anniversary and the completion of a 15-year restoration project Tuesday, with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip among the congregation.

The service marked three centuries since Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece in London opened to the public in 1711.

It has been the setting for many great occasions, including the funerals of Adm. Horatio Nelson and Winston Churchill, and the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

The enduring image of the cathedral is of the great dome looming intact, wreathed in smoke from German bombing in December 1940.

Restoration workers cleaned the church's structure and fixed damage left over from World War II, at a cost of $65 million.

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> BRAZIL

World's oldest person dies weeks shy of 115

SAO PAULO (AP) -- A Brazilian woman listed by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest person has died -- just weeks shy of her 115th birthday.

Maria Gomes Valentim died Tuesday morning in the southeastern city of Carangola. Helerson Lima of the Carangola senior citizen facility said Valentim died of multiple organ failure. On May 18, Guinness determined that Valentim was 48 days older than the person previously considered oldest in the world, Besse Cooper of Monroe, Ga.

Guinness verified that Valentim was born July 9, 1896, in Carangola, where she lived all her life.

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