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Suicide bomb detonates during U.S. raid in Iraq

BAGHDAD: Eleven Iraqis, several women and children, were killed yesterday when a suicide bomber set off explosives during a raid by U.S. forces on a house in Mosul, the U.S. military said. A military statement said the bomb detonated as U.S. forces exchanged gunfire with suspected insurgents and stormed a building in search of a wanted man. The military said it was unclear whether those who died, all believed to have been from one family, were killed by the explosion or by gunfire. "As coalition forces entered the building housing the terrorist, they began receiving small-arms fire. Coalition forces returned fire once engaged," according to the statement. "A terrorist detonated a suicide vest shortly thereafter in the house."

Mental-health care coverage gets a boost

WASHINGTON: More than one-third of all Americans will soon get better insurance coverage for mental health care because of a new law that, for the first time, requires equal coverage of mental and physical illnesses. The requirement, included in the economic bailout bill signed by President Bush on Friday, comes after 12 years of advocacy by friends and relatives of people with mental illness and addiction disorders. Most employers and group health plans provide less coverage for mental health care than for the treatment of physical conditions like cancer and heart disease. They will need to modify their benefits to comply with the new law. Doctors said the law will make it easier for people to obtain treatment for a wide range of conditions including depression, autism, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and alcohol and drug abuse.

Reaction to Chinese milk tainting widens

BEIJING: Hong Kong said yesterday it had found two Cadbury chocolate products that contained considerably more of the industrial chemical melamine than the city's legal limit in a growing scandal over tainted food made in China. Iran banned imports of all dairy products from China because of the contamination concerns, state radio reported. In China, the food safety watchdog said no traces of the melamine were found in new tests of milk powder sold domestically, as officials sought to restore public trust in dairy products. Baby formula containing melamine has been blamed for killing four infants and sickening more than 54,000 with kidney stones and other ailments in China. Calls to Cadbury offices in London and Asia Pacific went unanswered yesterday. In Iran, the Health Ministry said the ban on imports of dairy products from China is in place until further notice, according to state radio. The ministry is assigning health workers to destroy suspect Chinese dairy products currently on the Iranian market.

Israel's Olmert to talk security with Russia

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, traveling to Russia this week on one of his last diplomatic missions, said yesterday he would urge Moscow not to sell sophisticated weapons to Israel's enemies. Iran is interested in buying anti-aircraft missiles that could cripple a military strike against its nuclear program. Israel is also afraid Moscow would sell Syria the same missile defense system. Olmert travels to Russia today with little diplomatic clout: Within weeks, he is to step aside, driven from office by multiple corruption allegations. But he told his Cabinet yesterday that he would use the two-day visit to bring up security issues of long-standing concern in his talks with Russian leaders, including the sale of weapons and "the Iranian problem, where Russia plays a special role." Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has frequently called for Israel's destruction, and Israel suspects he means to carry out that objective by developing nuclear bombs with the help of a Russian-built nuclear power plant. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Bonny Jacobs, Biden's mother-in-law, dies

WASHINGTON: Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden has canceled his campaign appearances today and tomorrow after the death of his mother-in-law. Biden spokesman David Wade said Bonny Jean Jacobs, the mother of Biden's wife, Jill, died yesterday after a long illness. Jacobs was 78 and lived in Willow Grove, Pa. Wade described her as a "homemaker and avid gardener with a lifelong love of reading."

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