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Reuters live coverage of events around the world. Follow @ReutersWorld on Twitter for top news and @ReutersLive for live video events.


  • New top diplomats in China signal focus on U.S., Japan, North Korea

    (Reuters) - China is signaling that it is keen to get on top of troubled ties with the United States, Japan and North Korea with the likely appointment of two officials with deep experience of these countries to its top diplomatic posts.

    Current Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, ambassador to Washington from 2001-2005 and a polished English speaker, is tipped to be promoted to state councilor with responsibility for foreign policy, three independent sources said.

    Read on.
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  • Low-key departure as pope steps down

    (Reuters) - Pope Benedict slips quietly from the world stage on Thursday after a private last goodbye to his cardinals and a short flight to a country palace to enter the final phase of his life "hidden from the world".

    In keeping with his shy and modest ways, there will be no public ceremony to mark the first papal resignation in six centuries and no solemn declaration ending his nearly eight-year reign at the head of the world's largest church.

    Read on.
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  • Another dangerously smoggy day in Beijing:
    A woman wearing a mask rides her bicycle along a street on a hazy morning in Beijing, February 28, 2013. Beijing's environmental authorities said on Thursday air quality in Beijing and nearby regions hit dangerous levels, Xinhua News Agency reported. REUTERS/China Daily  
    by Clare Richardsonon Feb 28, 2013 at 3:34 PM
    Car travel on a hazy day in Beijing February 28, 2013. Beijing's environmental authorities said on Thursday air quality in Beijing and nearby regions hit dangerous levels, Xinhua News Agency reported. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon 
    by Clare Richardsonon Feb 28, 2013 at 3:35 PM



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  • Al Qaeda commander Abu Zeid killed in Mali: Ennahar TV

    (Reuters) - French forces in Mali have killed Abdelhamid Abu Zeid, a leading field commander of al Qaeda's north Africa wing AQIM, Algerian Ennahar television said.

    The station said 40 militants including Abu Zeid were killed in the region of Tigargara, northern Mali three days ago. A French Defence Ministry official declined to comment on the report. Algeria did not confirm the killing.

    (Reporting by Lamine Chikhi and John Irish; Editing by Alison Williams)
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  • Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea is good — for HBO

    Retired NBA star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea, yes, North Korea, on Tuesday in the latest of a series of visits by American citizens to the Stalinist state. Rodman and three members of the Harlem Globetrotters will engage in “basketball diplomacy,” according to this exclusive Associated Press story on Rodman’s trip. The retired Chicago Bulls star and five-time NBA champion will play an exhibition game with North Korea’s top basketball stars and conduct a basketball camp for children.

    Read on.
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  • French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (R) listens to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after a news conference at the ministry in Paris, February 27, 2013. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

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  • United Nations removes Osama bin Laden from sanctions list

    Almost two years after his death at the hands of U.S. special forces in Pakistan, a U.N. Security Council committee has removed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden from its sanctions list, although an order freezing any assets of the Islamist extremist remains in place.

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  • France ready to start Mali withdrawal despite Gao attack -admiral

    OTTAWA, Feb 22 (Reuters) - France is still ready to start pulling its forces out of Mali next month despite a rebel attack on the key town of Gao, the French commander of the defense staff said on Friday.

    Admiral Edouard Guillaud told reporters after a speech in Ottawa that he was not surprised by Thursday's attack in Gao, when 15 Islamists were killed by French and Malian troops.

    Asked whether France still planned to start withdrawing troops in March, he replied: "This is obviously conditions-based, that's obvious. But yet, I don't see any reason not to begin some drawdown."

    (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Vicki Allen)
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  • Firefighters in China rescue a young boy trapped in a washing machine.

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  • A Reuters photographer spent a month on the front lines of the war in Syria, traveling through underground opposition networks, witnessing bloody battles, and watching men die before his eyes. Read on and see the photos here.
    In a month on the frontline, I saw them defend a swathe of suburbs in the Syrian capital, mount complex mass attacks, manage logistics, treat their wounded - and die before my eyes.
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  • U.S. security firm Mandiant has pinpointed a nondescript building in Shanghai as the site of a rash of hacking attacks against U.S. targets - a claim China has dismissed. Jane Lee reports.

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  • Militants kidnap French family in north Cameroon

    Islamist militants from neighboring Nigeria abducted a French family of seven, including four children, in northern Cameroon on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande said.

    The risk of attacks on French nationals and interests in Africa has risen since France sent forces into Mali last month to help oust Islamist rebels occupying the country's north.

    Read on.
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  • Egypt in political clinch as economic cliff looms

    Two years after a pro-democracy uprising, Egypt resembles a rickety bus rolling towards a cliff, its passengers too busy feuding over blame to wrench the steering wheel to safety.

    Foreign exchange reserves are dwindling. Tourism is moribund. Investment is at a standstill. Subsidised diesel fuel and fertilizer are in short supply, while the cost of subsidies is swelling the budget deficit unsustainably.

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  • An Iberia worker is arrested by Spanish riot police officer during clashes at Madrid's Barajas airport, February 18, 2013. Workers at loss-making Spanish flag carrier Iberia began a five-day strike at midnight on Monday, grounding over 1,000 flights and costing the airline and struggling national economy millions of euros. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

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  • Pistorius shot girlfriend through door: prosecutor

    "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius put on his artificial legs and walked across his bedroom before firing four shots through a locked bathroom door, killing his cowering girlfriend in cold blood, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

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  • Latest update: Meteorite explodes over Russia, more than 1,000 injured

    A meteorite streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday, raining fireballs over a vast area and causing a shock wave that smashed windows, damaged buildings and injured 1,200 people.

    Read on.
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  • Norway plans 12-hour prime-time TV show of a fireplace

    (Reuters) - Norwegian public television plans to broadcast a burning fireplace for 12 straight hours from Friday evening, with firewood specialists providing color commentary, expert advice and a bit of cultural tutoring.

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  • Amateur video purports to show the downing of one of President Bashar al-Assad fighter jets in Hama. Sarah Sheffer reports.

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  • Venezuela to publish photos of recuperating Chavez: information minister

    (Reuters) - The Venezuelan government will publish photographs of Hugo Chavez on Friday, the information minister said on Twitter, in what would be the first sight of the president since he had cancer surgery in Cuba on December 11.

    (Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Vicki Allen)
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  • Meteorite hits central Russia, more than 500 people hurt

    (Reuters) - More than 500 people were injured when a meteorite shot across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday, sending fireballs crashing to Earth, shattering windows and damaging buildings.

    Read on.
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  • France's President Hollande is in India for a two-day state visit. In addition to negotiating the sale of 126 jets and agreeing to sell 50 helicopters to an Indian firm, the Globe and Mail reports Hollande has ruffled feathers by bringing his (unwed) partner Valerie Trierweiler. From the Globe and Mail:
    "The fact that the couple are not married forced the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi to update protocol dating back to the Raj. The existing rule meant that a head of state’s girlfriend or boyfriend could not be recognized as the official spouse and would therefore not live in the presidential palace in New Delhi, nor attend official functions."
    Click here for more photos from the trip. 
    France's President Francois Hollande (R) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as his partner Valerie Trierweiler (C) looks on during Hollande's ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India's presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, February 14, 2013. Hollande is on a two-day long state visit to India. REUTERS/B Mathur  
    by Clare Richardsonon Feb 14, 2013 at 7:17 PM


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  • It’s a groom’s market in China’s big cities, with more eligible women than men. For ladies facing pressure from parents and friends to find a mate, there is a new option -- the 'rent-a-boyfriend.'

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  • On Valentine's Day in Japan and South Korea, men will get a free pass on giving gifts. Today, it's up to the women to shower the men in their lives with chocolate. The tables will turn next month on March 14, "White Day," when men are expected to buy a white gift (marshmallows or lingerie, for example).

    This article from CNN points out that Valentine's Day is just one of several "calendar-dictated romantic days" in South Korea:
    Next is Black Day on April 14, when downbeat singles who didn't receive any goodies head to local Chinese restaurants to commiserate over their loneliness while eating jjajyangmyeon, or "black noodles."

    Surprisingly, one of the most popular gift-giving days of the year is November 11, or Pepero Day, so named in honor of a favorite Korean stick-shaped snack.

    Here's AFP with some historical context for the $11 billion chocolate business in Japan:
    Chocolate has been available in Japan since at least 1797, when it was given to prostitutes by Dutch traders -- the only Europeans allowed a foothold in an otherwise closed country where travelling abroad was punishable by death.
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  • South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murder after his girlfriend was shot dead in his home. Sarah Sheffer reports.

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  • Protesters wearing masks depicting Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (2nd L) and Basque premier Inigo Urkullu (2nd R) carry scissors, beside a man dressed as Cupid during a Valentine's Day themed demonstration against central and Basque regional government cuts in Bilbao, February 14, 2013. Stickers on protesters' coats read, "I love Social cuts". REUTERS/Vincent West

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  • A protester carries snacks with pictures of Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during a Valentine's Day themed demonstration against central and Basque regional government cuts in Bilbao, February 14, 2013. REUTERS/Vincent West

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  • A riot policeman patrols the streets during the second anniversary of the February 14 uprising in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama, February 14, 2013. A Bahraini teenager was killed by security forces on Thursday, an opposition website reported, as activists demonstrated on the second anniversary of an uprising demanding democratic reforms in the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

    Comment ()
  • Tyres burn on a road to create a blockade to mark the second anniversary of the February 14 uprising, in Budaiya, west of Manama, February 14, 2013. Protesters burnt tires and blocked most of the major roads leading to various highways causing delays in the early morning traffic. Alerts were issued to citizens of Britain and the U.S. residing in the country, according to their embassies. British and American schools were given a day off following the alert. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

    Comment ()
  • Syria death toll likely near 70,000, says U.N. rights chief

    The death toll in Syria is likely approaching 70,000 - up almost 10,000 from the start of the year - and civilians are paying the price for the U.N. Security Council's lack of action to end the conflict, the U.N. human rights chief said on Tuesday.

    Read on.
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  • Lebanese protesters block fuel shipments to Syria

    BEIRUT, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Protesters in Lebanon blocked the northern border crossing with Syria on Wednesday to stop fuel shipments they said were being used to resupply President Bashar al-Assad's military.

    Around 30 trucks were forced to stop on the Lebanese side of the Arida border crossing between the two countries and at one stage only pedestrians were able to cross over.

    "Today we are seeing that the Syrian regime and Lebanese regime ... are transferring diesel to Syrian tanks, trucks and military vehicles from Lebanon," said parliamentarian Mouein Merehbi, who joined protesters at the border.

    Read on.
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  • IAEA, Iran end nuclear talks in Tehran, no detail-ISNA

    VIENNA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran ended a day of talks in Tehran on Wednesday, but there was no immediate word on the outcome, the Iran Students' News Agency reported.

    The "negotiations between Iran and the Agency which started Wednesday morning ... ended a few minutes ago. There is still no news of the details from this meeting," ISNA said.

    (Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Zahra Hosseinian; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Michael Roddy)
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  • Pope confident his resignation will not hurt Church

    A visibly moved Pope Benedict tried to assure his worldwide flock on Wednesday over his stunning decision to become the first pontiff in centuries to resign, saying he was confident that it would not hurt the Church.

    Read on.
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  • An airplane is seen parked at Aleppo international airport, controlled by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, February 12, 2013. Activists said clashes erupted between Free Syrian Army fighters and government troops near Aleppo international airport, and they said civilian airplanes were used to supply the regime forces with weapons and food. REUTERS/Malek Al Shemali

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  • Syrians look behind as they sit in the back of a pickup truck as they return from the closed Cilvegozu border gate near the town of Reyhanli at the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province February 13, 2013. A Syrian minibus exploded at a crossing on Turkey's border with Syria near the Turkish town of Reyhanli on Monday, killing 14 people including Turkish citizens and wounding dozens more, Turkish officials said. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

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  • One-man bank keeps German village business running

    (Reuters) - Peter Breiter, 41, is an unusual banker. Not for him the big bonuses, complicated financial instruments and multi-million deals.

    Read on.
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  • Tunisian Islamist leader says coalition government to emerge this week

    TUNIS, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia's main Islamist Ennahda party, said on Tuesday he expected Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali to form a coalition government this week that would include politicians as well as technocrats.

    "I expect that agreement will be reached and I expect Jebali will remain the prime minister of a coalition government," he told Reuters in an interview.

    (Writing by Alistair Lyon; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
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  • Obama to announce 34,000 troops to return from Afghanistan

    WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will announce in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that 34,000 troops will return from Afghanistan by early 2014, a source familiar with the speech told Reuters.

    "The president will announce that 34,000 troops will be back from Afghanistan a year from tonight," the source said on condition of anonymity.

    Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai last month agreed to speed the handover of combat operations in Afghanistan to Afghan forces.

    There are about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Washington's NATO allies have been steadily reducing their troop numbers despite doubts about the ability of Afghan forces to shoulder full responsibility for security.


    (Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Jackie Frank and Bill Trott)
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  • A troubled homecoming for Bin Laden “shooter”

    Phil Bronstein, the former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, has written a 15,000 word yarn that describes the courage, humility and poor job prospects of the Navy SEAL who apparently killed Osama bin Laden.

    Read on.
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  • Latin America weighs odds of claiming the next pope

    If the Vatican chose the next pope based on demographics, there would be a clear regional frontrunner. Forty-two percent of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America, and the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Monday could be an opportunity for the Holy See to elect its first non-European pope.

    Read on.
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  • Rebels' raid poses Mali guerrilla war threat for French

    Malian troops hunted house-to-house in Gao on Monday for Islamist insurgents whose surprise attack inside the northern town at the weekend posed a risk of France's forces becoming entangled in a messy guerrilla war in Mali.

    Read on.
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  • Car blast kills at least nine on Turkey-Syria border

    REYHANLI, Turkey, Feb 11 (Reuters) - A car exploded at a crossing on Turkey's border with Syria near the Turkish town of Reyhanli on Monday, killing at least nine people including Turkish citizens and wounding dozens more, officials said.

    Witnesses said they saw the car drive up to the Cilvegozu border post, one of the main crossing points for Syrian refugees into Turkey, shortly before the explosion.

    Read on.
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  • Free Syrian Army fighters carry placards as they pose in front of a helicopter in Binnish, in Idlib Province, February 8, 2013. The placard (R) reads 'The Syrians called on Arabs for help, and the Palestinians laughed about it'. REUTERS/Mohamed Kaddoor/Shaam News Network/Handout

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  • Assassination casts pall on Arab Spring’s best hope
    By David Rohde

    At a faster rate than many expected, the post-Arab Spring’s Islamist governments are stumbling.

    For weeks, President Mohammad Mursi has faced increasingly violent opposition in Egypt. And now the Islamist rulers of Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, are facing growing unrest.

    Across the country once considered the region’s best hope for democracy, mass protests and political paralysis have erupted following the assassination of a leading secular politician on Wednesday.

    The anger and grief at Chokri Belaid’s death is real, according to this piece by my colleague Tarek Amara in Tunis. But it is also a reflection of the growing divide between secular Tunisians and the ruling Islamist party Ennahda.

    Read on.
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  • China's annual human migration reaches its peak with millions heading home to their families as Asia prepares to welcome in the Lunar New Year. Sarah Charlton reports.

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  • U.N. says 5,000 Syrian refugees fleeing each day

    About 5,000 refugees are fleeing Syria each day, seeking safe haven in neighboring countries, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.

    "This is a full-on crisis," Adrian Edwards, spokesman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told a news briefing in Geneva. "There was a huge increase in January alone, we're talking about a 25 percent increase in registered refugee numbers over a single month."

    Read on.
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Russian jets pound Aleppo as U.S. clings to diplomacy

AMMAN Russian war planes struck rebel held areas north of Aleppo on Saturday as the army shelled the besieged old quarter in a major offensive which also hit a field hospital, rebels and a monitoring group said.