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Sept. 28, 2011 at 12:00 PM
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Poll: Romney tops Perry in Ohio

HAMDEN, Conn., Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Ohio Republicans favor presidential hopeful Mitt Romney over Rick Perry, but both are neck-and-neck with President Obama in the Buckeye state, a poll indicated.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, led the field with 24 percent, while Texas Gov. Perry was second with 20 percent, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday said.

No other candidate captured more than 9 percent, results indicated.

Among all contenders, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin -- who hasn't indicated whether she'll enter the GOP race -- garnered 9 percent, followed by businessman Herman Cain at 7 percent, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 6 percent, and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 4 percent each. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was eighth with 3 percent.

If Palin doesn't run, Romney gets 25 percent to Perry's 21 percent, the Hamden, Conn., university said.

In a hypothetical general election match-up, Obama would get 44 percent to Perry's 41 percent, too close to call when factoring the margin of error, pollsters said. In an Obama-Romney tilt, the president would get 44 percent to Romney's 42 percent, also too close to call.

Results are based on telephone surveys of 1,301 registered voters from Sept. 20-25. The margin of error is 4.8 percent.

Al-Qaida to Iran: 9/11 theory 'ridiculous'

SANAA, Yemen, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida has told Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to drop the "ridiculous" theory the U.S. government carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

ABC News reports the message came in an article in the latest issue of al-Qaida's English-language magazine Inspire.

"The Iranian government has professed on the tongue of its President Ahmadinejad that it does not believe that al-Qaida was behind 9/11 but rather, the U.S. government," the article states "So we may ask the question: Why would Iran ascribe to such a ridiculous belief that stands in the face of all logic and evidence?"

The article claims Iran views itself as a rival to al-Qaida in terms of anti-Americanism and says Iran was jealous of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

"For [Iran], al-Qaida was a competitor for the hearts and minds of the disenfranchised Muslims around the world," the article reads. "Al-Qaida ... succeeded in what Iran couldn't. Therefore it was necessary for the Iranians to discredit 9/11 and what better way to do so? Conspiracy theories."

In another article in the magazine, allegedly written by Osama bin Laden before he was killed the U.S. Navy SEALs in May, the al-Qaida founder tells followers not to allow American soldiers to "become great in your eyes."

Ahmadinejad continues to claim the United States was behind the terror attacks and did so during a speech at the U.N. General Assembly last week, prompting walkouts by the U.S. delegation and several others.

U.S. watching North Korea's leadership

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Timing of any future provocative act by North Korea depends on the health of its leader, Kim Jong Il, the top U.S. military commander in the Pacific said.

Adm. Robert Willard, speaking at a briefing in Washington Tuesday, said the United States is monitoring North Korea for signs that the reclusive nation may be planning aggressive actions in light of its succession process, Stars and Stripes reported.

Western leaders said they believe Kim Jong Un, Kim's son, has been designated the next ruler of the country.

"We try to determine the succession dynamics that are ongoing, especially as we approach 2012, which the North Koreans have declared as an auspicious year for themselves and what that may portend in terms of Kim Jong Un's leadership position," Willard said.

A North Korean torpedo sank the South Korean warship Cheonan in March 2010, killing 46 sailors and heightening tensions between the two countries. In November 2010, North Korea attacked a South Korean island, killing two South Korean marines and two civilians.

Recently, however, North Korean officials signaled an interest in resuming six-party international talks about the country's nuclear program.

In the past, North Korea's succession process has led to provocations as the possible new leader attempts to establish his credibility with the North Korean military, Willard said.

He noted Kim Jong Un's presence during the 2010 attacks "was not lost on us."

Willard said attitudes in South Korea toward its northern neighbor have "fundamentally changed."

"There is very strong … intolerance at this point for any further provocations," he said.

Eight die in attacks across Iraq

BAGHDAD, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Eight people were killed and eight others, including a police officer, were injured in attacks across Iraq, security officials said Wednesday.

Five Iraqi citizens were killed and seven injured in an attack on a house of the pro-government al-Sahwa Force leader south of Fallujah, Aswat al-Iraq reported.

Security officials said the unnamed leader was not home when the attack occurred, a security official said.

"A group of armed men have attacked the house of a leader of al-Sahwa Force in Annaz village, southeast of Fallujah, killing five civilians, including two children, and wounding seven others," the official said.

Separately, coalition and Iraqi forces killed two men during a clash Wednesday in Mariam Beg, a village south of Kirkuk, the city's police director said.

Officials said the two men, who escaped, were trying to plant a bomb, Aswat al-Iraq said.

A security official told Aswat al-Iraq an Iraqi civilian was shot and killed and a police officer injured during an attack by a group of unknown gunmen Tuesday in Baghdad.

"A group of unknown gunmen have launched an attack, using silencer-equipped guns, on a car, carrying a police officer and a civilian in southern Baghdad's Daura district late Tuesday, instantly killing the civilian and seriously wounding the officer," the security official said.

Two storms meander in tropical Atlantic

MIAMI, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Two storm systems swirled in the tropical Atlantic Ocean Wednesday, with neither posing a threat to land, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Neither Tropical Storm Philippe nor Tropical Depression Ophelia prompted any coastal watches or warnings, the center said in its 5 a.m. EDT advisory.

Philippe, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, was about 930 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, traveling west-northwest at 12 mph.

The tropical storm was expected to shift to a more northwesterly track and increase its forward speed during the next two days, the center said. It was expected to weaken and could become a tropical depression by Wednesday night or Thursday.

Tropical Depression Ophelia, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, was about 205 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, traveling on a northwesterly path at 3 mph, the center said.

Ophelia is expected to turn more to the north-northwest with increase its forward speed over the next couple of days, the center said.

The center said the Ophelia was expected to re-strengthen to a tropical storm later Wednesday.

Ophelia could produce 1-3 inches over the northern Leeward Islands, the center said.

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