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News Editor: Susan Stumme
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-- TOP STORIES --
+ S. Korea, US forces raise alert status
+ Obama unveils US budget blueprint
+ Cameron leads parliament tribute to Thatcher
+ Syrian rebels appeal to Kerry for weapons
South Korean and US forces raise their alert status to "vital threat" before an expected North Korean missile test, with tensions high in the run-up to a key anniversary, as the Pentagon warns Pyongyang it is "skating very close to a dangerous line".
800 words moved by Park Chan-Kyong. Graphic. Picture. Video
To Republican mockery, President Barack Obama rolls out a $3.77 trillion budget that lays out his battle lines in a new fiscal showdown in Washington but irks some liberal allies.
750 words 2030 GMT by Stephen Collinson. Picture
We will also move: US-economy-budget-military-Obama,2ndlead
British Prime Minister David Cameron leads parliament in a special session of tributes to Margaret Thatcher, describing the divisive former leader as an "extraordinary" woman who had revived the country's fortunes.
800 words 2000 GMT by Alice Ritchie. Picture. Video. Graphic.
Syrian opposition leaders renew their appeals for arms at a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, but a top jihadist group's pledge of loyalty to Al-Qaeda deepens Western concerns that weapons could fall into the wrong hands.
700 words 2000 GMT by Danny Kemp. Picture. Video
-- AMERICAS --
A bipartisan group of US lawmakers is on the cusp of unveiling the most sweeping immigration reform in a quarter century, with lawmakers saying a bill was likely to be introduced in the Senate within days.
550 words 2000 GMT by Ivan Couronne. Picture
US senators reach a landmark bipartisan compromise that would expand background checks to all commercial firearm sales, in what could result in the most ambitious change to American gun laws since 1994.
750 words 2100 GMT by Michael Mathes. Picture
A German man is found guilty of first degree murder for killing his landlord in California in 1985, and then evading capture for years posing as a member of the Rockefeller family, among other aliases.
600 words 2100 GMT by Gregor Waschinski. File Picture.
Rudy Kurniawan, once held up as one of the world's most influential dealers in rare wine, pleads not guilty in New York to charges that he was cheating clients by passing off cheap bottles as multi-thousand-dollar vintages.
650 words 2000 GMT by Sebastian Smith
-- EUROPE --
British scientist Robert Edwards, who was awarded a Nobel prize for his pioneering work in developing in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), dies aged 87, his university announces.
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Paris's Louvre museum closes due to a walkout by staff in protest at the growing number of increasingly aggressive pickpockets, including children, targeting both workers and tourists.
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Mired in a scandal over an ex-minister's secret Swiss bank account, French President Francois Hollande vows to "eradicate" tax havens, increase checks on officials' finances and crack down on tax cheats.
650 words 2000 GMT by Michael Mainville. Picture. Video
-- MIDDLE EAST --
The head of Syria's jihadist Al-Nusra Front pledges allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, but distances his group from claims it has merged with Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
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A big black X has been painted on the doors of dozens of Syrian-run shops in Beirut's southern suburb, a bastion of Shiite Damascus regime ally Hezbollah.
750 words moved by Rana Moussaoui. Picture. Video
-- AFRICA --
Sudan's defence minister, wanted for alleged war crimes in Darfur, says improving relations with South Sudan will help to "end" a decade-old rebellion in the western region, where thousands have fled the latest violence.
700 words moved by Abdelmoneim Abu Edris Ali
-- ASIA --
China detains at least a dozen people for spreading false rumours about bird flu, police statements show, with authorities seeking to control "panic" as the number of cases rises to 33.
700 words moved by Bill Savadove. Graphic. Picture
The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant says it will abandon seven underground reservoirs storing radioactive water after three of them sprang leaks.
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