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FAST FACT

One-million refugees have returned to Bosnia, a landmark in recovery from the 1990s war, which displaced 2.2-million of the prewar population of 4.3-million, Udo Janz, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees' representative in Bosnia, said Tuesday.

NOTEWORTHY

Strike disrupts life in Israel

A nationwide general strike by Israel's largest public employee union threw the country into disarray Tuesday, applying maximum pressure ahead of the Yom Kippur and Sukkot holidays that are a peak time for tourism. The strike by hundreds of thousands of federal and local workers _ showing solidarity with 20,000 municipal employees who have not been paid for months _ shut down airports, seaports and border crossings, leaving thousands of travelers stranded. It closed banks and government offices, and scaled back services at hospitals, fire departments, courts, cemeteries and national bus lines.

THE UNUSUAL

1 woman, 32 days, 6,069 scorpions, 7 stings

A Malaysian woman has broken a world record by enduring 32 days enclosed in a glass box with 6,069 scorpions, suffering seven stings in the process, her sponsor said Tuesday. Nur Malena Hassan, 27, will remain in the case, on display in a shopping mall in the eastern city of Kuantan, until Saturday, said Bohari Rahmat, whose biscuit company sponsored the stunt. Late Monday, Nur Malena surpassed the previous record held by Kanchana Ketkeaw from Thailand, who spent 31 days in a glass box with 3,400 scorpions, Bohari said.

UPDATE

Chechen's killer

An army colonel convicted of murdering a Chechen woman on Tuesday withdrew his request for a pardon after it drew outrage and protests in Chechnya and opposition from prosecutors and human rights groups, Russian news agencies reported. Col. Yuri Budanov was convicted in July 2003 of the kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Heda Kungayeva. He admitted the killing, but said he thought Kungayeva was a rebel sniper.

German library fire

A fire that hit a historic German library Sept. 2 destroyed twice as many books as previously thought, with some 50,000 works sustaining irreparable fire damage, officials said Tuesday. The Sept. 2 fire at Weimar's Duchess Anna Amalia Library tore through the roof and top floor of the 16th century rococo palace housing the library, destroying classic books from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in the city where the nation's most revered writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, spent much of his life. In addition to the books lost, 62,000 books, or 20 percent of the library's collection, were damaged, said Hellmut Seemann, the president of the foundation that supports the library.

Saudi shooting

An Internet periodical considered the voice of al-Qaida's operations in Saudi Arabia claimed the terror network was responsible for the shooting death of a British national in the Saudi capital of Riyadh a week ago. The authenticity of the claim, which appeared in the Voice of Jihad, could not be verified.

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