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DAMASCUS: International efforts to end the conflict in Syria accelerate on Monday with key talks in Brussels and Paris, amid a push for a new peace conference despite growing divisions within the Syrian opposition. United States Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Russian and French counterparts in Paris…

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PARIS: A controversial nuclear programme, suspected growing involvement in the Syrian conflict and tightly-controlled presidential elections—Iran is an ever-increasing source of concern for Western powers. Tehran last week excluded most would-be candidates from its June 14 elections, keeping only those loyal to the all-powerful supreme leader, dashing any hopes that…

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LONDON: One of the suspects in the brutal murder of a soldier in Britain was arrested in Kenya three years ago and questioned over alleged links to Islamist insurgents, the Keynan government confirmed on Sunday. Michael Adebolajo was detained in 2010 but was handed over to British intelligence agents and…

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QUITO: Ecuador and the Palestinian Authority will open diplomatic missions in each others’ territories, Quito announced on Sunday. The agreement was reached a day earlier in a meeting between Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino and his Palestinian counterpart, Riyad al-Malki, who was in Quito for the inauguration of President Rafael…

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DAMASCUS: A reporter for Syrian state television station Al-Ikhbariya has been killed while covering an army assault on the rebel stronghold of Qusayr, Syrian state television said on Monday. “The ministry of information… announces that colleague Yara Abbas has been added to the ranks of the martyrs, killed by terrorists…

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TOKYO: The number of researchers exposed to low level radiation in an accident at a nuclear laboratory in Japan last week has hit 30, officials said Monday, with human error likely exacerbating the problem. The accident occurred on Thursday as 55 people were working at a laboratory in Tokaimura, 120…

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BEIJING: China is stepping up monitoring of water levels in its rivers and reservoirs, the government said, after rainstorms hit the south earlier this month and left dozens of people dead or missing. Parts of southern China are prone to rainstorms during spring and summer. Pictures from Guizhou province at…

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PARIS: At least 150,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Paris to protest a new law allowing gay marriage, a largely peaceful gathering that later turned violent as riot police battled hundreds of right-wingers. Police said they had made a total of 293 arrests and that six people were injured…

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CANNES, France: A sexually graphic lesbian love story, Blue is the Warmest Colour by French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche, clinched the top prize on Sunday (Monday in Manila) at the Cannes Film Festival in a pivotal year for gay rights. Jury president Hollywood director Steven Spielberg said the tender coming-of-age tale…

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RAIPUR: The death toll from an ambush by Maoist rebels in central India rose to at least 23 with senior politicians among the victims, a top police officer said on Sunday in the deadliest attack by the insurgents in over a year. Saturday’s attack was the latest in a long-simmering…