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-- TOP STORIES --
+ Ukraine govt survives no-confidence vote, protests continue
+ Thai police yield to protesters ahead of king's birthday
+ French experts rule out Arafat poisoning
+ Bolshoi dancer gets six years for acid attack
+ African, Asian nations agree to tackle illegal ivory trade
Ukraine's government survives a no-confidence vote after the prime minister apologises for a police crackdown on rallies, while demonstrators press ahead with protests over the ex-Soviet nation's scrapping of a key EU deal.
700 words 2000 GMT by Dmytro Gorshkov and Zoya Zhminko. Picture. Video
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Thai security forces abandon their defence of the government headquarters against a siege by protesters seeking to topple the prime minister, in a dramatic move that eases tensions ahead of the revered king's birthday.
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French experts have ruled out a theory that Yasser Arafat was killed by poisoning and believe he may have died of natural causes, a source close to the probe into the Palestinian leader's death says.
750 words 2000 GMT by Sophie Deviller. File Picture
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A Russian court sentences a Bolshoi dancer to six years in a penal colony for masterminding an acid attack that nearly blinded the famed company's artistic director.
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African and Asian states including China and Thailand reach a deal to crack down on the illegal ivory trade, agreeing to "urgent measures" to secure dwindling elephant populations during a summit in Botswana.
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-- AMERICAS --
The US city of Detroit wins judicial approval to move forward with its bankruptcy filing despite objections from city workers fearful of losing their pensions and other creditors.
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The Brazilian economy contracted 0.5 percent in the third quarter of this year compared with the previous one, the first such contraction since early 2009.
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Still looking for a Christmas present? Then enter a raffle to win a $1 million Picasso painting for just $135 a ticket, the first tombola of its kind raising money for a charity in Lebanon.
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-- MIDDLE EAST --
A suicide bombing in central Damascus kills four people, hours after jihadists and other rebels seized a historic Christian town north of the Syrian capital.
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Attacks in mostly Sunni Arab areas of Baghdad as well as northern and western Iraq kill at least 23 people, the latest in a months-long surge in bloodletting.
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-- EUROPE --
The editor of Britain's Guardian newspaper defends its publication of leaks by Edward Snowden, telling lawmakers under fierce questioning that the daily's staff were "patriots".
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Swedish police warn of a growing trend of teenage gang rapes, often filmed or photographed on smartphones, as a high-profile case under a new rape law opens in the capital.
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-- ASIA --
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's uncle, seen as the hardline regime's political regent, has apparently been purged and two associates executed, South Korea's spy agency says, nearly two years after the young supremo came to power.
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US Vice President Joe Biden is set to arrive in Beijing amid rising friction over a Chinese air zone, needing to tread between bolstering ties with the rising power and underscoring alliances with Tokyo and Seoul.
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Britain should recognise it is not a "big" power, but "just an old European country apt for travel and study", Chinese state-run media snap as Prime Minister David Cameron visits.
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