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WHO: Swine-Flu Virus Could Infect 2 Billion


WHO - SWINE FLU: The World Health Organization says the H1N1 swine-flu virus could infect up to two billion people over the next two years - about one of every three people in the world. A senior official for the U.N. agency, Keiji Fukuda, told an (Associated Press) interviewer Friday that WHO has been reporting only laboratory-confirmed cases thus far, but those are really only a fraction of the total number of swine-flu infections. Fukuda said the global epidemic is still in its early stages. A separate WHO report Friday said the virus has spread to almost every country in the world, killing about 800 people since it emerged in April.

NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR: For the second time in as many days, a North Korean official has dashed hopes that Pyongyang will return to the six-party nuclear disarmament talks. North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations says his country has made clear that the talks are "gone forever," and that Pyongyang will never again take part in that process. Ambassador Sin Son Ho said North Korea was "cheated" by other parties in the talks, who he said did not act as they had promised. The North Korean envoy spoke to reporters at his country's U.N. mission in New York.

IRAQ - KURDS: Iraqi Kurds are voting Saturday in a presidential and parliamentary election, just as the autonomous region is locked in a bitter feud with Baghdad over land and oil. There are about 2.5 million people eligible to vote in Iraqi Kurdistan, a region in northern Iraq that includes three provinces (Irbil, Dahuk and Sulaimaniyah). After the polls close Saturday evening, the ballots will to flown to Baghdad where they will be tallied. Results are expected within two to three days, but the region's electoral chief has warned that technical problems could delay official results for weeks.

TERRORISM - BUSH: A major U.S. newspaper says former President George W. Bush considered testing the Constitution by using the military to arrest terror suspects on American soil. Citing unnamed Bush officials, The New York Times reports then-Vice President Dick Cheney, along with other senior advisors, advocated troops should arrest a group of al-Qaida-linked suspects in upstate New York in 2002. The constitution and other U.S. laws restrict the use of the military for domestic raids.

PAKISTAN - MUMBAI: A Pakistani anti-terrorism court held a brief hearing for five men accused of taking part in November's terror attacks in India's commercial city of Mumbai. The five suspects appeared Saturday during a closed proceeding at a high-security facility in Rawalpindi, a garrison city just outside Islamabad. The judge (Baqir Ali Rana) heard brief statements from both sides and then adjourned the case until August 29. Court officials say defense attorneys asked for the prosecution to turn over evidence in the case. The government argued for a closed trial because of the sensitivity of the case.

HONDURAS: A U.S. State Department spokesman says deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya will be in Washington Tuesday. Washington and the Organization of American States, which is based in Washington, have asked the ousted leader to be patient and not return to Honduras on his own, fearing it would plunge the country into chaos. However, the ousted leader re-entered Honduras Friday by stepping just across the border, then returned to Nicaraguan soil a short time later to avoid possible arrest.

OBAMA - HEALTH CARE: U.S. President Barack Obama cited new research Saturday, saying small businesses pay nearly 20% more to insure their employees for health benefits than big businesses. In his weekly address, Mr. Obama says the situation is "unsustainable" and "unacceptable." The new report conducted by the White House Council of Economic Advisors was released Saturday. It shows one-third of small businesses have cut benefits, while others have stopped providing coverage or cut jobs. Mr. Obama says his health care reform plan will change the situation for the better.

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