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Medvedev: Testing for new missile done
MOSCOW — A ballistic missile that is to be a cornerstone of Russia's nuclear arsenal has completed its rocky test program and will be commissioned by the military, President Dmitry Medvedev announced Tuesday during a meeting with military officers.
The Bulava ICBM, intended to arm a new generation of nuclear submarines, is a three-stage missile that can carry up to 10 individually targeted warheads at a range of 5,000 miles.
The Bulava suffered a string of failures during tests that dragged on for years, raising doubts about the future of the most expensive military project in the nation's post-Soviet history.
Several recent tests, however, have been successful, including last week's simultaneous launch of two Bulavas.
Russian officials have billed Bulava as a new-generation weapon, capable of dodging any potential missile defenses, thanks to its quick start and an ability to perform unusual maneuvers in flight.
Economic agreements discussed with South
PYONGYANG — A South Korean mourning delegation returned home Tuesday after meeting with North Korea's next leader, who rapidly has gained prominence since his father's death.
Kim Jong-un's brief meeting Monday with a group led by a former South Korean first lady and a prominent business leader shows Seoul that he is assured in his new role atop the country's ruling structure.
The South Koreans also met with Kim Yong-nam, president of Presidium of North Korea's parliament, according to footage from Associated Press Television News in Pyongyang. He often represents the country and is considered a nominal head of state.
The sides agreed to push for the implementation of 2000 and 2007 summit agreements between the countries aimed at expanding economic cooperation, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said briefly.
Rebels to release six hostages
BOGOTA — Colombian rebels on Tuesday announced plans to release six hostages who have been held captive for more than a decade.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia said in a statement published on a rebel website that the six will be released as soon as details are worked out.
The rebels said three of those to be freed include police officers Jorge Trujillo, Jorge Romero and Jose Libardo Forero, who were kidnapped in southern Colombia on July 11, 1999.
They also said in the statement that they will soon announce the identities of the other hostages to be freed.
President diagnosed with thyroid cancer
BUENOS AIRES — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has thyroid cancer, but test results Tuesday show that it remains limited to a lobe in the right side of her neck, and has not metastasized or spread into her lymph nodes.
The cancer was discovered during a routine exam on Dec. 22.
Ms. Fernandez, 58, will undergo surgery on Jan. 4 at the Hospital Austral in Buenos Aires and then take 20 days of medical leave, during which Vice President Amado Boudou will run the country.
This kind of thyroid cancer is highly survivable, with more than 95 percent of patients living at least 10 years after detection, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Prince Philip leaves hospital
LONDON — Britain's Prince Philip returned to the royal family's country estate Tuesday, after a spell in the hospital undergoing treatment for a blocked coronary artery.
Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's 90-year-old husband, spent four nights in the hospital recovering from a successful coronary stent procedure. He was taken to Papworth, a specialist heart hospital in Cambridge, on Friday after complaining of chest pains.
It was the most serious health scare suffered by Philip, who is known to be active and robust. He has continued to appear at many engagements, most recently taking a 10-day tour of Australia with the queen.
From wire dispatches and staff reports
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