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U.S. IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON IRANIAN BANK

WASHINGTON

The Bush administration on Wednesday imposed financial sanctions on an Iranian state-owned financial institution for allegedly providing financial services in support of the country's weapons program. The Treasury Department's action means that any bank accounts or other financial assets belonging to the Export Development Bank of Iran that are found in the United States are frozen. Americans also are prohibited from doing business with the bank. The government contends the bank provided financial services to Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, which controls Iran's ballistic missile research, development and production activities.

UNITED NATIONS

Corruption is cited in U.N. contracts

A task force investigating U.N. purchasing operations reported five significant fraud or corruption schemes in contracts valued at more than $20-million and said more than 50 other cases should be investigated. The U.N. Procurement Task Force said its investigators identified "improprieties, corruption and malfeasance" in a review of the U.N. pay and benefits system at U.N. headquarters in New York, in the U.N. peacekeeping operation in the Congo and at U.N. offices in Kenya and Greece. U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said the report would be discussed today by the General Assembly's budget committee.

MEXICO CITY

Rice in Mexico to discuss drug war

The Bush administration signaled its alarm Wednesday about Mexico's drug war by sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to a two-day meeting on improving cross-border cooperation in the battle against the country's drug cartels. The administration increasingly sees the violent clashes in Mexico as a threat to American security. Rice arrived on Wednesday in Puerto Vallarta for meetings with her local counterpart, Patricia Espinosa. The Mexicans sought the visit to press for greater coordination with the United States in their fight against the cartels.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

DJ is fired for 'mocking God'

A Dubai radio station fired a South African drive-time DJ for mocking religion and impersonating God on the air, the show's management said Wednesday. The Arabian Radio Network said Revin John was "let go" over a sketch Monday on Virgin Radio Dubai in which he quoted an article about a U.S. court throwing out a lawsuit against God. John then pretended to act out a telephone conversation with God, prompting complaints from listeners of "diverse faiths and nationalities," the station said.

Elsewhere

London: The British High Court Wednesday condemned the U.S. government's failure to turn over intelligence documents that could support the claims of British resident Binyam Mohammed, held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who has argued that his terrorism confession resulted from torture.

India: A bomb exploded outside a police training center in northeast India on Tuesday, killing at least 17 people and wounding 23 more, police said.

Belgium: Western donors promised on Wednesday to spend about $4.5-billion to rebuild Georgia, whose economy and infrastructure were badly damaged by this summer's war with Russia.

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