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WORLD IN BRIEF: Marines link up in Taliban stronghold

Marines link up in Taliban stronghold

MARJAH, Afghanistan — Marines moving by land from the north linked up Tuesday with U.S. units that have faced nearly constant Taliban attack in the four days since they were dropped by helicopter into this insurgent stronghold in southern Afghanistan.

Also Tuesday, U.S. artillery fired non-lethal smoke rounds to disperse Taliban fighters in Marjah — the first time cannons have been used in the fight to drive the militants from their logistical and opium poppy-smuggling base. Commanders refused a Marine request to fire deadly high-explosive rounds because the unit on the ground could not be sure civilians weren't at risk.

3 world powers criticize Iranian enrichment

VIENNA — Russia, the U.S. and France have urged Iran to stop enriching uranium to higher levels and suggested the project reinforces suspicions that Tehran is seeking to make nuclear weapons. The joint statement, made public Tuesday, reflects unified Russian and Western opposition to Iran's increased enrichment.

Shrugging off international concerns, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the country was moving ahead to expand its enrichment capacities by installing more advanced machinery at its main enrichment facility.

Ahmadinejad told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday the new centrifuges are not yet operational but are five times more efficient than the model now in use at its underground Natanz enrichment plant.

King Tut died from malaria, broken leg

CAIRO — Egypt's most famous pharaoh, King Tutankhamun, was a frail boy who suffered from a cleft palate and club foot. He died of complications from a broken leg exacerbated by malaria and his parents were most likely brother and sister.

Two years of DNA testing and CT scans on Tut's 3,300-year-old mummy and 15 others are helping end many of the myths surrounding the boy king. While a comparatively minor ruler, he has captivated the public since the 1922 discovery of his tomb, which was filled with a stunning array of jewels and artifacts, including a golden funeral mask.

— From wire reports