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GREECE

Parcel disarmed at Merkel's office

BERLIN | German police disarmed a potentially harmful package from Greece at German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office Tuesday, hours after similar small mail bombs exploded outside the Russian and Swiss embassies in Athens in attacks blamed on Greek far-left extremists.

Greek police destroyed at least three more suspected bombs in Athens, and two local men have been charged with mailing bombs.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the package, which arrived midday at the mailroom of Mrs. Merkel's office, was sent from Greece two days ago and resembled a series of small mail bombs in Athens. He said the package had a Greek return address and authorities traced that it had been sent from Greece two days ago.

BRITAIN

Britain, France sign historic defense deal

LONDON | Britain and France struck a historic defense deal Tuesday aimed at preserving military muscle in an age of austerity, pledging to deploy troops under a single command, share aircraft carriers and collaborate on once fiercely guarded nuclear programs.

After talks in London, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Europe's only nuclear-armed powers had set out plans to work closely for the next 50 years — forming a joint rapid reaction force, sharing warhead testing facilities and tackling together the threats from cyberwarfare and the militarization of space.

YEMEN

Yemen hunts bomb suspect

SAN'A | Yemen launched a major operation on Tuesday to arrest a Saudi bomb maker accused of being behind a foiled bomb plot involving U.S.-bound parcels as the poverty-hit Muslim nation came under pressure to find those responsible.

With the military deploying, suspected al Qaeda militants on Tuesday blew up an oil pipeline in southern Yemen operated by a South Korean firm, a local official said. It was not immediately clear if exports from the small oil producer would be affected.

The aim of the military operation in the provinces of Marib and Shabwa was to capture suspected bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri, and the U.S.-born radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who is wanted by Washington for his links to al Qaeda, a Yemeni security official said.

Yemeni authorities also began the trial in absentia of Mr. al-Awlaki, who has been linked to the failed bombing of a U.S.-bound plane in December that was claimed by Yemen's al Qaeda wing and who is thought to be in southern Yemen.

JAPAN

Japan recalls envoy from Russia

TOKYO | Japan temporarily called its ambassador back from Russia on Tuesday but left the door open for a possible summit despite growing anger in Tokyo over President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to a disputed island off Japan's northern coast.

Mr. Medvedev's trip to the island on Monday — the first by a Russian leader — elicited angry protests from Tokyo and came as Japan is embroiled in another heated territorial dispute with China over islands in the south.

TAIWAN

Report: Missile targets Chinese air bases

TAIPEI | Taiwan is developing a potent missile system that can strike airfields and harbors on the mainland, in a bid to nip a Chinese invasion in the bud, local media said Tuesday.

The "Wan Chien" or "Ten Thousand Swords" missile system passed an initial operating test earlier this year, said Defense Technology Monthly.

Each missile carries more than 100 cluster bomb warheads capable of blowing dozens of small craters in airport runways, making them impossible to use, the magazine said. The missile also can target harbors, missile and radar bases, and troop build-up areas.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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