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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a ceremony to launch a countdown clock for the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Bolshoi Ice Dome in the Black Sea resort of Sochi February 7, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

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  • Tunisian protesters ransack police station in capital

    Tunis, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters attacked and ransacked a police station in the Tunisian capital on Thursday in a second day of unrest over the killing of an opposition figure, witnesses said.

    Hundreds of youths stormed the police station and threw its furniture, eeqipment and files into the street before fleeing, the witnesses said.

    (Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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  • Russia's Pussy Riot appeal to European rights court

    Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights over their jail sentences for a protest against President Vladimir Putin's links to the Russian Orthodox Church.

    Read on.
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  • Greeks forgo winter heating after jump in fuel tax

    Greek cleaner Eleni Daneel's family spends evenings in their Athens home bundled up in coats after a steep rise in fuel prices made heating their apartment an unaffordable luxury this winter.


    Apostolos Mastouropoulos, who works at an environmental association, speaks during an interview with Reuters as his wife Diana looks on in their house in the Petroupoli suburb, west of Athens, February 3, 2013. 
    REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis 
    by Clare Richardsonon Feb 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM



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  • The body of Tunisian opposition Chokri Belaid (top R) arrives amidst tens of thousands of protesters as they demonstrate on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis, February 6, 2013. Tunisia's secular opposition Popular Front said it was pulling out of the constituent assembly charged with writing a constitution after an opposition politician was killed on Wednesday. REUTERS/Anis Mili

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  • Tunisian police fire teargas to disperse protesters in Tunis

    Feb 7 (Reuters) - Tunisian police fired teargas on Thursday to disperse hundreds of people protesting near the Interior Ministry in Tunis against the Wednesday killing of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid, a Reuters witness said.

    Demonstrators were throwing stones and chanting slogans calling on Prime Minister Hamdi Jebali to resign, the witness said.

    (Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Pravin Char)
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  • Iran to let in Egyptians without visas

    CAIRO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Iran will cancel visa requirements for Egyptian merchants and tourists, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told Egypt's state news agency on Wednesday.

    He also said relations between the two countries, who broke ties in 1979, were improving "every day".
    Salehi is visiting Cairo with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for an Islamic summit.

    Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian head of state to visit Egypt since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

    (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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  • Iran's Salehi thinks Syrian govt ready to talk to opposition -MENA

    CAIRO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The foreign minister of Iran said on Wednesday he believed that the Syrian government was ready to negotiate with the opposition and that the two sides would have to sit together for talks, the Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.

    "I think that the Syrian government is ready to negotiate with the opposition," Ali Akbar Salehi told MENA. Opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib has made a conditional offer to talk to Syria's rulers about trying to end Syria's conflict.

    (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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  • Satellite appears to show Syria building unscathed by Israel strike

    A research center that Syria said was hit by an Israeli strike last week remained unscathed in the attack, an Israeli television channel said satellite images it broadcast on Wednesday showed.

    Diplomats, Syrian rebels and security sources said Israeli jets bombed a convoy near the Lebanese border last week, apparently hitting weapons destined for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006.

    Read on
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  • Reuters: CAIRO: IRANIAN FM BELIEVES SYRIAN GOVERNMENT READY TO NEGOTIATE WITH OPPOSITION - EGYPTIAN STATE NEWS AGENCY
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  • Syria: Three men waving a white flag from the roof of the mosque on February 6. It is unclear if these men are rebels or pro-Assad forces; however, reports indicate that this was a government-held position.

    Credit: YouTube/Jobar Revo
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  • Syria: Fighting in Jobar in northeast Damascus on February 6. Activist reports indicate insurgents attacked a checkpoint at the Harmala bin al-Waleed Mosque. The mosque has reportedly been turned into a checkpoint.

    Credit: YouTube/Khattab FSA

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  • Tunisian policeman killed in protest over opposition slaying

    Tunis, Feb 6 (Reuters) - A policeman was killed during violent protests in the Tunisian capital on Wednesday over the assassination of an opposition leader, the Interior Ministry said.
    The victim, named as Lotfi Zar, was hit by stones, it said.

    Thousands of Tunisians demonstrated outside the Interior Ministry headquarters following the slaying of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid.

    (Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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  • Boys gather near the wreckage of car destroyed last year by a U.S. drone air strike targeting suspected al Qaeda militants in Azan of the southeastern Yemeni province of Shabwa, February 3, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah. From the Reuters photo gallery: Drone wars.

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  • The second video shows police getting hold of one protester and kicking him to the ground.

    Credit : Emna Chebâane via Facebook

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  • A protest near the interior ministry on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis descended into clashes on Wednesday, February 6. The spontaneous rally was prompted by the assasination of opposition politician Chokri Belaid outside his home on Wednesday morning. The video below shows protesters running down the street as tear gas is being fired into the crowd.

    Credit : Emna Chebâane via Facebook

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  • Tunisian PM says will form small technocrat government

    TUNIS, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali announced on Wednesday he will form a technocrat government.

    "After the failure of negotiations between parties on a cabinet reshuffle, I decided to form a small technocrat government," Jebali said in a speech to the nation.

    He said the ministers would not run for office but elections would subsequently be held as soon as possible.

    (Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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  • Reuters: TUNISIAN PRIME MINISTER SAYS WILL FORM A SMALL TECHNOCRAT GOVERNMENT
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  • Tunisian leader to form national unity government-official sources

    TUNISIA, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali will dissolve the Islamist-led government and form a national unity administration, official sources said on Wednesday.

    "The prime minister will deliver a speech to the nation tonight and will announce the formation of a new government of non-partisan figures and technocrats," one source told Reuters.

    The source said that Jabali's decision, which followed the killing of prominent secular opposition figure Shokri Belaid in front of his home on Wednesday, was a personal one taken in the interests of the country.

    (Reporting By Tarek Amara, Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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  • Tunisian protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration after the death of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid, outside the Interior ministry in Tunis February 6, 2013. Tunisia's secular opposition Popular Front said it was pulling out of the constituent assembly charged with writing a constitution after an opposition politician was killed on Wednesday. REUTERS/Anis Mili

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  • Timeline of events in Tunisia since Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali became the first autocratic leader to fall in the Arab Spring uprisings.

    December 17, 2010 - Mohamed Bouazizi sets fire to himself in the central town of Sidi Bouzid in protest at the confiscation by police of his vegetable cart. Local people rally in support. Bouazizi later dies of his burns. Huge funeral increases momentum of protests against unemployment and repression.

    January 14, 2011 - After days of clashes in which dozens of people are killed, and having made empty promises of reforms and elections, Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi stays on, with parliamentary speaker Fouad Mebazza as interim president.

    February 27 - Ghannouchi resigns after violent protests over his ties to Ben Ali, triggering street celebrations in Tunis. He is replaced by Beji Caid Sebsi, a former foreign minister under 1960s independence President Habib Bourguiba.

    March 7 - Sebsi unveils a new cabinet of technocrats rather than career politicians, none of whom had served in governments under Ben Ali. The Interior Ministry says Ben Ali's political police and state security apparatus has been dissolved.

    June 20 - A Tunisian court sentences Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi, in absentia to 35 years in prison for theft and illegal possession of large sums of cash. In July a court adds a 16-year jail term for Ben Ali and his son-in-law for corruption.

    October 23 - Tunisia votes in the first election of the Arab Spring, choosing from among 80 political parties to form an assembly charged with drafting a constitution within a year.

    December 12/13 - Members of the constitutional assembly vote to elect former dissident Moncef Marzouki as president, the second most powerful role after the prime minister. Hamadi Jebeli, secretary general of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, is designated as prime minister.

    May/June 2012 - Hundreds of Salafi Islamists attack bars and shops and clash with security forces in Jendouba, raising religious-secularist tensions. In June, the government lifts a curfew imposed following riots by Salafis and others over an art exhibition they deemed insulting to Islam.

    November 30 - Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, says Tunisian authorities must stop using firearms against demonstrators after more than 220 people are reported injured in clashes between protesters demanding jobs and police in Siliana, on the edge of the Sahara Desert.

    February 6, 2013 - Opposition secularist politician Shokri Belaid is shot dead, sparking huge street protests. Prime Minister Jebali calls the killing a political assassination and a strike against the "Arab Spring" revolution.

    (Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by Mark Heinrich)
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  • Tunisian protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration after the death of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid, outside the Interior ministry in Tunis February 6, 2013. Tunisia's secular opposition Popular Front said it was pulling out of the constituent assembly charged with writing a constitution after an opposition politician was killed on Wednesday. REUTERS/Anis Mili

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  • Reuters: TUNISIAN PRIME MINISTER WILL DISSOLVE GOVERNMENT AND FORM NATIONAL UNITY CABINET-OFFICIAL SOURCES
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  • France wants UN peacekeeping force for Mali by April

    PARIS, Feb 6 (Reuters) - France wants the African-led military mission in Mali to be replaced with a United Nations peacekeeping force by April, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday.

    "From the moment that security is assured, we can envisage without changing the structures that it can be placed under the framework of U.N. peacekeeping operations," Fabius told reporters.

    Asked if the aim was to have this done by April, he said: "Yes. Our experts and those we are working with are aiming for that."

    (Reporting By John Irish; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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  • Reuters: FRANCE WANTS UN PEACEKEEPING FORCE FOR MALI IN PLACE BY APRIL - FOREIGN MINISTER
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  • U.S. challenges India's solar program restrictions at WTO

    WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The United States has filed a case at the World Trade Organization challenging India's domestic content requirements for its national solar program as violation of global trade rules, U.S. trade officials said on Wednesday.

    "Let me be clear: the United States strongly supports the rapid deployment of solar energy around the world, including with India," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.

    "Unfortunately, India's discriminatory policies in its national solar program detract from that successful cooperation, raise the cost of clean energy, and undermine progress toward our shared objective," he said.

    (Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Vicki Allen)
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  • Reuters: HEZBOLLAH DEPUTY LEADER DISMISSES ACCUSATIONS OF INVOLVEMENT IN BULGARIA BOMB ATTACK, SAYS ISRAEL WAGING CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE GROUP
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  • Tunisian opposition quits assembly, calls for general strike

    TUNIS, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Tunisia's secular opposition Popular Front said it was pulling out of the constituent assembly charged with writing a constitution after an opposition politician was killed on Wednesday.

    Popular Front spokesman Hamma Hammami said the opposition was also calling for a general strike to protest against the murder of Chokri Belaid, who was gunned down in front of his home in Tunis on Wednesday.

    Protests erupted in Tunis and other towns as news of Belaid's killing spread, two years after the uprising that swept Tunisia's president from power and inflamed the Arab world.

    (Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
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  • Tunisia ministry says Belaid gunman fled on motorcycle

    Tunis, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The man who shot Tunisian opposition figure Chokri Belaid fled on a motorcycle ridden by an accomplice, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

    "A man opened fire on Chokri Belaid and then fled with a second person who was waiting motorcycle," Khaled Tarouch, ministry spokesman, said without giving further details.
    Police have yet to arrest any suspects.

    (Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Alison Williams)
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  • Statement on the assassination today from the Tunisian Salafi party Jabhat al-Islah (via @azelin)

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  • Tunisia protests after government critic shot dead by Tarek Amara

    A Tunisian opposition politician was shot dead on Wednesday, sending protesters onto the streets of cities nationwide two years after the uprisings that swept Tunisia's president from power and inflamed the Arab world.

    The headquarters of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, which rules in a fractious coalition with secularists, was set ablaze after Chokri Belaid, an outspoken critic of the government, was gunned down outside his home in the capital.

    Read on
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  • The body of Shokri Belaid, a prominent Tunisian opposition politician, is carried into an ambulance after he was shot, in Tunis February 6, 2013. The politician was shot dead outside his home on Wednesday, in a killing the prime minister condemned as a political assassination and a strike against the "Arab Spring" revolution. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said the identity of the killer of Shokri Belaid, a staunch secular opponent of the moderate Islamist-led government, was unknown. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

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  • A forensic inspector (R) looks at the car of prominent Tunisian opposition politician Shokri Belaid, who was shot dead outside his home, in Tunis February 6, 2013. Belaid was shot dead outside his home on Wednesday, in a killing the prime minister condemned as a political assassination and a strike against the "Arab Spring" revolution. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said the identity of the killer of Belaid, a staunch secular opponent of the moderate Islamist-led government, was unknown. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

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  • Reuters: TUNISIAN OPPOSITION CALLS FOR GENERAL STRIKE AFTER THE KILLING OF A SECULAR POLITICAL OPPOSITION FIGURE - STATEMENT
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  • Reuters: Tunisian Interior Ministry says opposition leader killed by gunman on a motorcycle, fled with accomplice
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  • Britain's parliament backs gay marriage in initial vote

    LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - British lawmakers on Tuesday backed legalising gay marriage in the first of several votes on the issue after a debate which split Prime Minister David Cameron's ruling Conservative party in two.

    The draft law, which proposes legalising same-sex marriage in 2014, was carried by 400 votes to 175 votes. The legislation is several stages away from becoming law, but has already exposed rifts within Cameron's party at a time when he is facing growing talk of a possible leadership challenge.

    (Reporting By Andrew Osborn)
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  • Israel says Iran, Hezbollah waging global terror campaign

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed on Tuesday a Bulgarian report linking Hezbollah to a fatal bus bombing, saying the Lebanese militant group and its ally Iran were waging a "global terror campaign".

    Netanyahu said the Bulgarian probe into the 2012 attack in the Black Sea city of Burgas was "further confirmation of what we already knew, that Hezbollah and its patron, Iran, are waging a global terror campaign across borders and continents."

    "The attack in Burgas was an attack on European soil against a member of the European Union. We hope the Europeans will draw the necessary conclusions about the true character of Hezbollah," Netanyahu said in a statement.

    (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; editing by Crispian Balmer)
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  • In Spain, slow justice favors Rajoy

    MADRID, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The tortuous procedures of the Spanish court system and a weak political opposition mean corruption allegations are unlikely to force Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy from office.

    Uproar in the media and some street protests have helped raise doubts among investors on the government's future, pushing its borrowing costs back up at a time when its priority has been to save money and pay off debts to stave off insolvency.

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  • Members of the Free Syrian Army stand on the back of a truck in Khan al-Assal area near Aleppo, February 4, 2013. REUTERS/Abdalghne Karoof

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  • Islamic summit to urge Syria transition: draft

    CAIRO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Leaders of Islamic nations will call for a dialogue between the Syrian opposition and government officials "not involved in oppression" to end two years of civil war, a draft communique seen by Reuters on Tuesday said.

    The declaration, due to be issued after a two-day summit of 56-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo starting on Wednesday, does not mention President Bashar al-Assad and pins most of the blame on his government for continued violence.

    The text discussed by foreign ministers at a preparatory meeting on Tuesday came after Syrian opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib offered to meet Assad's deputy to negotiate a way to end the bloodshed, in which the United Nations says at least 60,000 people have died.

    Read on.
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  • Bulgaria says Hezbollah behind Burgas bombing

    SOFIA, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Two individuals with links to Lebanon's militant group Hezbollah were involved in a bomb attack on a bus in the Bulgarian resort of Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists last July, Bulgaria's interior minister said on Tuesday.

    The conclusions of the Bulgarian investigation may open the way for the European Union to join the United States in branding the Iranian-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organisation since there is now a clear connection to an attack on EU territory.

    Read the full story here.
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  • Reuters: BULGARIA MINISTER SAYS SUSPECTS IN BURGAS BOMB ATTACK WERE PART OF MILITANT WING OF HEZBOLLAH
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  • Islamic leaders to call on Assad to engage in dialogue - TV

    BEIRUT, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Leaders of Islamic nations meeting in Cairo will call on Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in their final declaration to engage in "serious dialogue" with the opposition, Lebanon's pan-Arab Mayadeen Television reported on Tuesday, quoting what it said was the draft declaration.

    Assad has yet to respond to an initiative by opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib, who has offered to meet Assad's deputy to negotiate ways to end the bloodshed in Syria.

    (Reporting by Mariam Karouny; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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  • Investigators from across Europe say they've identified a total of some 680 suspicious matches from around the world, bringing in at least 8 million euros in proven profits. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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  • North Korea nuclear test would face "firm" U.N. action: South Korea

    (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council is united on North Korea's nuclear arms program and will undoubtedly approve tough measures against Pyongyang if it carries out a new atomic test as expected, South Korean U.N. Ambassador Kim Sook said on Monday.

    "The North Korean nuclear test seems to be imminent," Kim, who is president of the Security Council this month, told reporters. "Obviously there are very busy activities going on at the (North Korean) nuclear test site, and everybody's watching."

    "Everybody is unified and they are firm and resolute," he said. "I would expect very firm and strong measures to be taken ... once they go ahead with such provocation."

    (Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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Russia said to send more warplanes to Syria, diplomacy 'on life support'

MOSCOW/BEIRUT Russia is sending more warplanes to Syria to ramp up its air campaign, a Russian newspaper reported on Friday, as the United States said diplomacy to halt the violence was "on life support" but not dead yet. | Video