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MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2007
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President unwraps Father’s Day gifts

CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush unwrapped Father’s Days gifts Sunday at his Texas ranch where the skies let go a deluge of rain that turned roadside gullies into muddy ponds and closed the main road into this tiny Texas community.

From first lady Laura Bush, the president received several ties she purchased during their recent trip to Europe, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said. Bush’s twin daughters, gave him a CD they had made for him to listen to while exercising.

Bush spent the day with Mrs. Bush and their daughter, Jenna. Their other daughter, Barbara, was not at the ranch over the weekend. The president also spoke to his father, former President George H.W. Bush, over the phone.

Study: Sudan most at risk of failure

WASHINGTON — Sudan and seven other sub-Saharan African countries are among the 10 nations in the world most vulnerable to violent internal conflict and deteriorating conditions, according to a private survey.

In the third annual “failed state” index, analysts for Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to conflict resolution, Sudan was judged most at risk of failure. Violence in the Darfur region was the main contributing cause.

As evidence that troubles in failing states often cross borders, the report cited violence spilling from Darfur into the Central African Republic and Chad.

Pope’s pilgrimage to ‘city of peace’

ASSISI, Italy — Pope Benedict XVI made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of peace-loving St. Francis on Sunday, lamenting the violence in the Middle East and decrying “the illusion” that force could resolve conflicts.

The pope journeyed to this Umbrian hill town to mark the 800th anniversary of the conversion of Francis of Assisi.

Benedict said he considered it his duty in Francis’ birthplace — “this city of peace” — to make “a pressing and heartfelt appeal so that all the armed conflicts that bloody the earth may cease, so that weapons may go silent and so that, everywhere, hate gives way to love, offense to forgiveness and discord to union.”

2 rockets hit Israel from Lebanon

JERUSALEM — Militants in Lebanon fired at least two rockets into Israel on Sunday, causing no casualties and little damage, but raising the possibility of a new flare-up on the volatile border less than a year after Israel’s bloody monthlong war against Hezbollah.

The Lebanese prime minister said the attack was geared at undermining the stability of Lebanon, while the U.N. condemned Sunday’s incident as a serious violation to a cease-fire that ended the conflict last year.

Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group, denied involvement, leading to speculation a radical Palestinian group was behind the attack.

Conservatives take French parliament

PARIS — President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative party won a clear parliamentary majority Sunday in elections seen as crucial to his vision for opening up France’s economy. Socialists did far better than expected, however, by capitalizing on fears of giving Sarkozy too much power.

Sarkozy’s UMP party, with a projected majority of at least 50 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, will face little resistance to the rash of measures he plans to introduce within weeks to make France’s sluggish economy more competitive and less protective.

Sunday’s legislative runoff suggests that French voters France, long driven by leftist ideals, wanted to send the U.S.-friendly Sarkozy a message that his powers are not absolute, and to keep their concerns in mind.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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