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AFP 0500 GMT News Advisory

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Duty Editor: Sarah Stewart

Tel: +852 2829 6211

-- TOP STORIES --

+ Many feared dead in Texas fertilizer plant explosion

+ Obama attacks senators after gun reforms blocked

+ N. Korea sets out demands for talks with US, South

US-blast,update-WRAP

CHICAGO

A fertilizer plant in Texas explodes into a massive fireball, killing as many as 60 to 70 people, local media report, amid fears that a second tank at the facility could also blow up.

650 words 0630 GMT. Video

US-politics-guns,4thlead

WASHINGTON

Bristling with anger, President Barack Obama brands defeat of his gun reform drive in the US Senate as "shameful," and accuses lawmakers of caving in to the powerful firearms lobby.

700 words 0700 GMT by Stephen Collinson. Picture

Also moved: US-politics-guns-Senate,SCENE

NKorea-SKorea-US-military,update-WRAP

SEOUL

North Korea demands the withdrawal of UN sanctions and a permanent end to South Korea-US military drills as pre-conditions for any talks with Seoul or Washington.

750 words 0630 GMT by Jung Ha-Won

-- AMERICAS --

US-attacks,update-WRAP

BOSTON, Massachusetts

US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle head to Boston to mourn with loved ones of the deadly marathon bombing victims, as investigators probing the attack find images of a suspect who may have planted the bombs.

750 words 0700 GMT by Tim Witcher. Picture. Graphic. Video

Also moving: US-attacks-China-student,lead

US-attacks-Obama-letter,6thlead

WASHINGTON

A letter addressed to US President Barack Obama tests positive for ricin and officials arrest a suspect, hours after the incident and another poisoned mailing sparked alarm in Washington.

600 words moved by Stephen Collinson

Venezuela-vote,update-WRAP

CARACAS

Venezuela's Supreme Court rules out a recount of a disputed presidential vote won by the late Hugo Chavez's political heir Nicolas Maduro, upping the pressure on his rival to concede.

700 words moved by Maria Isabel Sanchez. Picture. Video

US-Canada-oil-environment-politics

NEW YORK

Backers of the controversial $5.3 billion Keystone XL pipeline project being weighed by the Obama administration could boost US jobs and improve energy independence, but critics say the uplift will be short-lived.

700 words 0530 GMT by John Biers

IMF-WorldBank-economy-finance-G20

WASHINGTON

Fresh worries of slowing growth and potential turbulence from a global flood of liquidity will be in focus when the world's central bankers and finance ministers gather for the spring meetings of the IMF, World Bank and G20.

Fresh worries on growth as IMF, World Bank meets open

700 words 0530 GMT by Paul Handley

-- EUROPE --

Italy-vote-president,WRAP

ROME

Italy's parliament votes for a new president in a bid to end a two-month impasse on forming a government, with former trade union leader Franco Marini the clear favourite after a deal between right and left.

700 words 0830 GMT by Ella Ide. Picture. Video

Already moved: Italy-vote-president-Vatican-pope

               Italy-vote-president-Marini,PROFILE

 

Britain-politics-Thatcher,update-WRAP

LONDON

Margaret Thatcher is laid to rest with military pageantry and pockets of protests, in a funeral that reflected the polarising impact of Britain's longest-serving post-war prime minister.

950 words moved by Alice Ritchie. Picture. Graphic. Video. Live report

 

Spain-women-religion-abortion-law-politics-social,FOCUS

MADRID

Spain's centre-right government, under pressure from the Catholic Church and its ultraconservative wing, has vowed to 'promptly' tighten the nation's abortion laws, angering the opposition Socialist Party which had eased access to the procedure.

650 words moved by Ingrid Bazinet

 

Entertainment-France-film-festival

PARIS  

Hollywood names and arthouse directors get to hear if they are in the frame for the Palme d'Or at next month's Cannes film festival, the world's leading cinema showcase.

550 words moved by Helen Rowe

-- ASIA --

Japan-US-aviation-incident-company-ANA-JAL-Boeing,2ndlead

TOKYO

Shares in All Nippon Airways and battery maker GS Yuasa surge after a report that US and Japanese regulators are preparing to let the grounded Dreamliner fly again, raising hopes Boeing's nightmare is reaching an end.

500 words 0700 GMT by Kyoko Hasegawa. File Picture

Pakistan-unrest-vote-sex,FOCUS

SUKKUR, Pakistan

Stereotyped as dancers, beggars and prostitutes, Pakistan's vibrant but shunned transgender community has struck out into politics, with its members contesting elections for the first time.

800 words moved by Khurram Shahzad. Picture. Video

 -- MIDDLE EAST --

Syria-conflict,update-WRAP

DAMASCUS

President Bashar al-Assad warns the West that it will pay a heavy price for its alleged support of Al-Qaeda in Syria and says his regime's defeat is not an option.

850 words moved. Picture

-- AFRICA --

Sudan-unrest-SouthKordofan-AfricanUnion-talks,5thlead

KHARTOUM

Sudan's government and rebels in South Kordofan state say they are ready to talk about ending a two-year-long war at a planned meeting in Ethiopia next week.

600 words moved by Ian Timberlake

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