Army collecting weapons from West Bank settlement

KEREM SHALOM, Israel - In a final drill, thousands of Israeli troops prepared Wednesday for some of the worst scenarios in next week's Gaza pullout, from Palestinian mortar fire to settler violence and equipment failure.

In a small West Bank settlement also slated for evacuation, residents began turning in their weapons to help ward off violence during the withdrawal, and an American seminary student was to be deported for fear he was planning attacks against Arabs.

Beginning Aug. 17, some 55,000 soldiers and police will remove some 9,000 Jewish settlers in 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the West Bank. While officials expect most settlers will leave voluntarily, they are bracing for passive resistance and attacks by Jewish extremists or Palestinian militants.

Iran brings uranium conversion facility to full operation

ISFAHAN, Iran - A defiant Iran resumed full operations at its uranium conversion plant Wednesday, as Europe and the United States struggled to find a way to stop the Islamic republic from pushing ahead with a nuclear program they fear will lead to weapons of mass destruction.

With United Nations inspectors watching, Iranian officials removed U.N. seals that had been placed voluntarily on equipment at the facility eight months ago when Tehran agreed to freeze most of its nuclear program.

Technicians then immediately resumed work on the process that turns raw uranium into gas for enrichment.

Wife, son of Chile's Pinochet arrested

SANTIAGO, Chile - Gen. Augusto Pinochet's wife and younger son were arrested Wednesday and charged as accomplices in a tax evasion case linked to an investigation into the former dictator's multimillion dollar fortune overseas.

Lucia Hiriart, 82, and Marco Antonio Pinochet, who is in his 50s, were charged after being questioned by Judge Sergio Munoz, whose probe into the former dictator's overseas holdings was sparked by a U.S. Senate investigation.

Helicopter carrying 14 crashes into sea

TALLINN, Estonia - A helicopter carrying 14 people, including two Americans, crashed in the Baltic Sea off the Estonian coast on Wednesday and all aboard were believed killed.

The U.S.-made Sikorsky S-76 helicopter, operated by Finnish firm Copterline, was on a commercial flight from the Estonian capital, Tallinn, to Helsinki, Finland, when it went down in strong winds shortly after takeoff near the island of Naissaar, about three miles off the coast, officials said.

Pictures from an unmanned underwater robot sent to the wreckage on the seabed, some 160 feet underwater, showed bodies inside, rescue spokesman Aivar Murikse said.

Financial district at risk, senior London police official says

LONDON - The police chief for London's financial district warned Wednesday that terrorists will likely strike the British capital's biggest business hub, where they have already surveyed targets in the area.

The warning came as police said they have charged another man under anti-terror laws in the botched bombings against London's transit system on July 21.

Abdul Sharif, 28, of South London, was charged with withholding information that could have helped police apprehend bombing suspect Osman Hussain. Sharif has been in custody since his arrest Aug. 1

Hussain, also known as Hamdi Issac, fled Britain after the failed bomb attacks and is being held in Rome on international terrorism charges. Britain wants to extradite Issac from Italy.

Nearly five weeks after four suicide bombers attacked London on July 7, killing themselves and 52 other people, police chief James Hart said there was no specific intelligence about a forthcoming attack but insisted the financial district was at risk.

Gunmen kidnap senior Iraqi official; 5 Americans killed

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Gunmen kidnapped a senior Interior Ministry official in the heart of the Iraqi capital Wednesday, and the U.S. military reported that five more American soldiers had been killed.

The latest violence came as Iraqi politicians intensified talks to try to meet a Monday deadline for finalizing a constitution.

Malaysia haze hits dangerous levels

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A noxious haze blamed on forest fires in Indonesia reached dangerous levels in Kuala Lumpur and nearby areas Wednesday, closing schools, halting some flights and keeping residents indoors.

Environment Minister Adenan Satem said the haze, which appeared last week, is concentrated over the Klang Valley - site of Malaysia's main city, Kuala Lumpur, the administrative capital and a sprawling residential area.

-From wire reports