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Syria agrees to access for U.N. aid workers

GENEVA (AP) -- Syria has agreed to allow humanitarian workers and supplies into four of its provinces hit hardest by violence in a nation where 1 million people need aid urgently due to the fighting, officials said Tuesday.

At the same time, however, Damascus plunged itself into further international isolation by labeling U.S. and European envoys as unwelcome in retaliation for Western expulsions of Syrian diplomats.

The humanitarian deal requires Syria to provide visas for an unspecified number of aid workers from nine U.N. agencies and seven other nongovernmental organizations, and to cut through the red tape that has blocked convoys from delivering food, medicine and other supplies, said John Ging, operations director for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

But officials cautioned they won't declare success until the regime of President Bashar Assad delivers on its promises.



Pakistan loses funds for 'Sesame Street'

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The United States has ended funding for a $20 million project to develop a Pakistani version of "Sesame Street," the U.S. Embassy said Tuesday. The decision came as a Pakistani newspaper reported allegations of corruption by the local puppet theater working on the initiative.

The Rafi Peer Theater Workshop, a group in the city of Lahore, jointly developed the show with Sesame Workshop, the creator of the American series. The show, which includes Elmo and a host of new Pakistani characters, first aired at the end of last year.

The United States hoped it would improve education in a country where one-third of primary school-age children are not in class. It was also meant to increase tolerance at a time when the influence of radical views is growing.



President recognizes 2nd love child as son

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) -- The president of Paraguay has recognized a second love-child: a 10-year-old boy, born to a nurse in the northern state where Fernando Lugo served as a Catholic bishop before renouncing the priesthood and turning to politics.

A lawyer for Lugo, 61, said he told him to file the paperwork needed to change the boy's last name to Lugo.

His mother is Narcisa de la Cruz de Zarate, the fourth woman to have filed a paternity suit against the former cleric, who also accepted Guillermo Armindo, the child of Viviana Carrillo.