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LEBANON

4 soldiers die as army pounds militants

TRIPOLI — A thick blanket of smoke covered a Palestinian refugee camp yesterday as the Lebanon army unleashed one of its heaviest bombardments against al Qaeda-inspired militants holed up inside.

But the army, which lost four soldiers in the renewed attack, according to a senior military official, denied it was conducting a final assault against the Fatah Islam fighters barricaded in Nahr el-Bared camp.

The fatalities brought to 90 the number of soldiers killed since fighting began on May 20 near the northern port city of Tripoli.

Meanwhile, army gunboats pounded Fatah Islam positions near the coast, the state-run National News Agency reported.

SPAIN

U.S. treasure boat seized near Gibraltar

GIBRALTAR — Spanish police boarded a boat operated by a U.S. treasure hunting company in international waters yesterday after it left the British colony of Gibraltar, a witness aboard the boat said.

Spain says the company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, has treasure — worth $500 million — that Madrid thinks could have been retrieved from Spanish waters or from a Spanish galleon that sank in the Atlantic during the colonial period.

SOUTH KOREA

Oil aid shipment on way to North

SEOUL — A shipment of oil headed yesterday to North Korea in an initial exchange for the expected shutdown soon of the communist nation's only working nuclear reactor, which would be the first step by Pyongyang to stop making atomic bombs in nearly five years.

The chief U.N. inspector, Mohamed ElBaradei, said he expects the agency's monitoring of the shutdown of the North's Yongbyon reactor will start "early next week" and the initial inspection is expected to be completed "within maybe a month or so."

A South Korean ship — the 6,750-ton No. 9 Han Chang — departed for North Korea from the port of Ulsan on South Korea's southeast coast, carrying an initial batch of 6,200 tons of heavy fuel oil being given to the North for its agreement to shut down Yongbyon. The ship was expected to arrive tomorrow.

BRITAIN

Churchill dropped from schools' syllabus

LONDON — Britain's World War II Prime Minister Winston Churchill has been cut from a list of key historical figures recommended for teaching in English secondary schools, a government agency said yesterday.

The radical overhaul of the school curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds is designed to bring secondary education up to date and allow teachers more flexibility in the subjects they teach, the government said.

But although Adolf Hitler, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Josef Stalin and Martin Luther King have also been dropped from the detailed guidance accompanying the curriculum, Churchill's exclusion is likely to leave traditionalists aghast.

IRELAND

Protestant Orangemen march peacefully

DUBLIN — Tens of thousands of Protestant hard-liners marched without trouble through Belfast and other Northern Ireland cities and towns yesterday in an annual event that used to involve conflict with Catholics but now shows the effects of a succeeding peace process.

The Orange Order marches each July 12 — an official holiday in Northern Ireland called simply "The Twelfth" — in commemoration of a 1690 victory by the forces of a Protestant king, William of Orange, over the Catholic he ousted from the English throne, James II. Catholics have long loathed the parades and said they were designed to intimidate them.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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