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Fears for Pakistan as Blasts Kill 126

Extremist bomb attacks killed 126 people in one of Pakistan's deadliest days for years, raising concerns Friday about rising violence in the nuclear-armed country ahead of general elections. Two suicide bombers killed 92 people and wounded 121 after they targeted a crowded snooker club in the southwestern city of Quetta Thursday, in an area dominated by Shiite Muslims from the Hazara ethnic minority. Extrem ...

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Russia, U.S. to Meet Syria Envoy Brahimi on Friday

Moscow - Russian and U.S. diplomats plan to hold a meeting with the international mediator for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, on Friday in Geneva, Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov as saying on Wednesday. Russian and U.S. diplomats held two trilateral meetings last month with Brahimi, who is trying to find a diplomatic solution to end the nearly 22-month-old conflict betwe ...

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Egypt’s President to Meet Palestinian Rivals on Unity

Cairo - Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi plans to meet the leaders of Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah on Wednesday in a renewed effort to help them heal their five-year-old feud, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said. But there was no confirmation President Mahmoud Abbas of the secular Fatah group and Khaled Meshaal of the Islamist Hamas movement would meet face to face, and a unity pact reached in ...

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Iran Leader Warns against Raising Election Doubts

Tehran - Iran's supreme leader says that Iranians should not serve the country's enemies by questioning the fairness of upcoming presidential elections. The remarks by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei quoted Tuesday by state TV also appeared to be a warning to reformists who have in recent weeks stressed that the vote scheduled for June be free. Iran wants to avoid a repeat of the unrest that followed 2009 presidenti ...

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US Drone Attack in Pakistan ‘Kills Seven Militants’

Islamabad - At least seven militants have been killed in two US drone attacks in Pakistan's north-western tribal area, Pakistani officials say. Missiles hit two buildings close to the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan. the officials said. They told the BBC that among the militants killed were two foreign fighters, said to be from Uzbekistan. North Waziristan is a stronghold for insurgent groups active in ...

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Kurdish Militants Attack Turkish Outpost, 13 Killed

Ankara - Twelve Kurdish militants and one Turkish soldier were killed in clashes along the Turkey-Iraq border after the militants opened fire from inside Iraq on a remote outpost in southeast Turkey, security sources said on Tuesday.The attack coincides with efforts to end a near three-decade insurgency through talks with the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group. A group of PKK ...

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Syria Crisis: Food Aid ‘Cannot Reach a Million People’

One million Syrians are going hungry and helpless due to the 22-month civil conflict in the country, the UN says. The World Food Program (WFP) says it is helping 1.5 million Syrians, but continued fighting and an inability to use the port of Tartus to deliver food mean many people are not receiving aid. The UN estimates that more than 60,000 people have been killed in the uprising, which began in March 2011 ...

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China to Reform Controversial Forced Labor Camps

Beijing -  China will reform its controversial system of forced labor camps this year, state media reported on Monday, which would mark a first step toward legal reform promised by new Communist Party chief Xi Jinping. China's "re-education through labor" system, in place since 1957, empowers police to sentence petty criminals to up to four years' confinement without going through the courts, a system that ...

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Iran Backs Assad’s “Peace Plan” For Syria

Tehran - Iran welcomed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's television address, saying he had rejected violence and offered a "comprehensive political process" to end his country's conflict, Iranian media reported on Monday. Assad's speech on Sunday was billed as the unveiling of a new peace plan but the president offered no concessions and dismissed the prospect of negotiations with Syrian opposition groups, ...

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Obama to Nominate Intelligence and Defense Chiefs

Washington - US President Barack Obama is to nominate John Brennan as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, White House officials have said. If confirmed, Mr Brennan will replace Gen David Petraeus, who resigned last year after admitting to an affair. Chuck Hagel is to be put forward as the president's next defence secretary, replacing Leon Panetta. Both appointments are expected to be formally a ...

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Defiant Assad Summons Syrians for “War to Defend Nation”

Damascus - A defiant President Bashar al-Assad called on Sunday for national mobilization in a "war to defend the nation", describing rebels fighting him as terrorists and agents of foreign powers with whom it was impossible to negotiate. Appearing in an opera house in central Damascus packed with cheering supporters, the Syrian leader delivered his first speech to an audience since June last year, and his ...

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