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AFP 0500 GMT News Advisory

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Duty Editor: Jitendra Joshi

Tel: +852 2829 6211

-- TOP STORIES --

+ North Korea puts rockets on standby for US strike

+ Nelson Mandela responding positively to treatment

+ Pope Francis to oversee first Easter ceremonies

+ Iran, N. Korea, Syria block UN treaty on weapons

NKorea-SKorea-US-military,4thlead-WRAP

SEOUL

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un orders preparations for rocket strikes on America's mainland and Pacific military bases, vowing to "settle accounts" after US stealth bombers flew training runs over South Korea.

700 words 0600 GMT by Giles Hewitt. Graphic

SAfrica-politics-health-Mandela

JOHANNESBURG

Nelson Mandela spends a second day in hospital after responding well to treatment for a recurrent lung infection, the latest health scare for the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon.

800 words 0800 GMT by Andrew Beatty. Picture. Video

  Vatican-religion-pope-Easter,WRAP

  ROME

  Pope Francis presides over his first Good Friday after washing the feet of 12 young prisoners, updating an ancient Easter ritual as part of his efforts to bring the Catholic Church closer to the needy.

  600 words 0700 GMT by Dario Thuburn. Picture. Video

UN-weapons-treaty,3rdlead

UNITED NATIONS

Iran, North Korea and Syria spark widespread anger by holding up agreement on the first global treaty on the $80 billion a year conventional arms trade.

700 words moved by Andre Viollaz

-- EUROPE --

Cyprus-economy-EU-finance,WRAP

NICOSIA

Cypriots stay calm as banks reopen after a nearly two-week lockdown, with the first capital controls of their kind in the eurozone saving the island from a catastrophic bank run.

650 words 0630 GMT by Albion Land. Picture. Video. Graphic

Also moved: Cyprus-economy-EU-finance-queues,4thlead-SCENE

Oly-2014-doping-RUS-IOC-WADA,FOCUS

LAUSANNE, Switzerland

Russia, long described as a black spot in world anti-doping, remains a concern as the clock ticks down to the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

700 words 0530 GMT by Stephanie Pertuiset

Also moving: Oly-2006-doping-IOC

Germany-Poland-history-television-WWII,FOCUS

BERLIN

A television miniseries brings World War II horrors back to German living rooms and provokes a furious reaction from Poland, which accuses it of playing down Nazi guilt.

550 words 0530 GMT by Laurent Geslin. File picture

-- ASIA --

Cricket-NZL-Ryder,2ndlead

WELLINGTON

Battered New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder shows signs of improvement and gives his family the thumbs-up as police charge two men with assaulting the gifted batsman in a savage beating.

600 words 0530 GMT. File Picture

Easter-Philippines-religion-crucifixion

SAN FERNANDO, Philippines

Catholic zealots in the Philippines re-enact the last hours and death of Jesus Christ, whipping their bare backs and nailing themselves to crosses in a grisly Easter ritual that persists despite the Church's disapproval.

550 words 0530 GMT by Noel Celis. Picture. Video

-- AMERICAS --

US-politics-guns-Obama,lead

WASHINGTON

President Barack Obama makes an impassioned plea for gun reform, infuriated by the notion that fading memories of the Newtown massacre three months ago are undercutting a push for new laws.

750 words moved by Stephen Collinson. Picture

US-NATO-military-defense-command,2ndlead

WASHINGTON

The United States nominates General Philip Breedlove, a veteran pilot in Europe, as the top commander of NATO a month after Afghan war supremo John Allen stepped aside.

500 words moved by Shaun Tandon. File picture

Mexico-crime-drugs-poetry,INTERVIEW

MEXICO CITY

Mexican poet Javier Sicilia has led massive marches against the war on drugs since his son's murder and a "peace caravan" across the United States, making him a senior voice against violence in his country.

550 words 0530 GMT by Guillermo Barros

Cuba-industry-fish,FOCUS

EL COTORRO, Cuba

They live on an island, yet don't like fish. But in Cuba, where times are always hard and food precious, people are holding their noses and getting used to eating farm-raised tilapia and catfish.

650 words 0530 GMT by Francisco Jara. Picture

-- AFRICA --

SAfrica-crime-sport-bail-Pistorius,WRAP

PRETORIA

Paralympian sprint star Oscar Pistorius may compete at the World Championships in August after a South African court clears him for international travel, easing stringent bail terms imposed after he was charged with murdering his girlfriend.

750 words moved by Susan Njanji-Matetakufa. Picture. Video

DRCongo-unrest-UN,lead

UNITED NATIONS

The UN Security Council unanimously approves the first-ever "offensive" UN peacekeeping brigade to battle rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

650 words moved by Tim Witcher

Centrafrica-unrest,WRAP

BANGUI

Hospitals in the coup-hit capital of the Central African Republic overflow with injured people and tens of thousands face hunger as the humanitarian situation in the country worsens just days after rebels seized power.

700 words moved by Patrick Fort. Picture. Graphic

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