World News: US officials believe parcels were dry run for Yemen plot

US intelligence officials tracked suspicious shipments in September that they now suspect were a dry run for last week's foiled parcel bomb plot, it was reported today.

The shipments from Yemen to Chicago are reported to have contained literature and other materials, but no explosives, according to American media reports.

The idea was to test how long it would take for the packages to reach their destination, the officials suspect.

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Last week, two parcel bombs were found on cargo planes in the UK and Dubai.

Today new security measures affecting the transfer of cargo through the UK came into force.

Yesterday it emerged that explosives discovered at East Midlands Airport and in Dubai were at least 50 times more potent than would be needed to blow a hole in an aircraft fuselage.

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a suspension of flights containing unaccompanied cargo from Somalia.

The move was a "precautionary measure", Mrs May said.

Flights of unaccompanied air freight from Yemen were suspended earlier this year.

Call for calm over Ivory Coast poll

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on rival parties in the Ivory Coast to accept results from the West African nation's first election since civil war split the cocoa-producing country in half nearly a decade ago.

Electoral workers began counting ballots shortly after polls closed on Sunday.

Haiti braced for hurricane

Aid workers rushed to prepare for a hurricane that forecasters said could hit Haiti this week.

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Many people in the camps said they did know Tropical Storm Tomas might be coming, but there was little they could do living in flimsy shelters to protect themselves from the elements.

Leaders to talk in wake of row

Japan's prime minister Naoto Kan plans to meet Russian president Dmitry Medvedev later this month, amid renewed tensions in a territorial dispute.

Japan's chief spokesperson Yoshito Sengoku said he believed the meeting at an Asia Pacific summit would go ahead.

Tokyo says it will recall its ambassador to Russia to hear explanations on the Kuril Islands row. Mr Medvedev visited one of the four islands yesterday, a move Japan said was "very regrettable".

Widow addresses the nation

NEW Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez spoke to the nation for the first time since the death of her husband, Nestor Kirchner.

"It's the greatest sadness I've had in my life," she said, and vowed to carry on pursuing the couple's left-of-centre policies.

Military ban on openly gay troops to stay

United States: A federal appeals court has ordered the US military's ban on openly gay troops to remain in place indefinitely while a legal battle is fought over the policy, meaning troops can still be discharged for being openly gay.

Greece: French president Nicolas Sarkozy was among the intended recipients of four parcel bombs found in Athens yesterday, police have said.

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Two men, aged 22 and 24, have been arrested over the attack.