World briefs: Iran disavows nukes again

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TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran sought Tuesday to spell out in its clearest terms yet that it is not seeking nuclear weapons, highlighting a religious decree issued by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that bans nuclear weapons.

The latest reference to Ayatollah Khamenei's declaration is seen as a bid to close the door on debates that Iran may have carried out atomic bomb trigger tests as inspectors from the U.N. atomic watchdog were on their way to Tehran for a new round of discussions.

Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the United States and its allies don't understand the significance of the edict.

"There is nothing higher than the exalted supreme leader's fatwa to define the framework for our activities in the nuclear field," he said. German economy shrinks

FRANKFURT, Germany -- The economic stagnation in Europe has taken a significant toll on Germany, with government figures released Tuesday showing that the Continent's flagship economy contracted in the fourth quarter of last year.

The Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden estimated that the German economy shrank about 0.5 percent in the final three months of 2012, compared with the previous three months. The decline was largely the result of sagging investment by German managers worried about the future of the eurozone.

19 killed in train crash

CAIRO -- Egypt's Islamist president vowed to hold accountable those responsible for a train crash in Cairo's outskirts that killed 19 security forces as the incident provided new ammunition for his critics.

The accident, which comes about two months after another train smashed into a school bus in southern Egypt, killing 50 children, was the fifth such occurrence since Mohamed Mursi's election in June, the state-run Ahram Gate reported.

Israeli forces kill teenager

JERUSALEM -- Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian teenager during a confrontation along the West Bank barrier Tuesday, underscoring the potential for spiraling violence after weeks of simmering restiveness in the area.

Two other Palestinians, both men in their early 20s, were fatally shot in recent days along Gaza's border with Israel, one of them in disputed circumstances. The use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters in the West Bank had become less common after years of relative stability.

Iraqi lawmaker killed

BAGHDAD -- An Iraqi Parliament member who was also the leader of a local council of the Sunni Awakening, a U.S.-backed group of Sunni militias that switched sides to fight against al-Qaida in Iraq, was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Anbar province Tuesday.

The lawmaker, Efan al-Essawi, who owned a construction company, had gone to inspect a road that it was building to connect Fallujah with the main highway in Anbar, a trade route that leads west to Syria and Jordan.

Also in the world...

Italy closed its consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and withdrew its staff because of security concerns, following an attempted ambush of the Italian consul over the weekend. ... The Irish food safety watchdog said Tuesday that it had discovered traces of horse and pig DNA in burger products sold by some of the country's biggest supermarkets, including a burger sold by global retailer Tesco that authorities said was made of roughly 30 percent horse.

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