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Reuters World News Highlights at 1700 GMT, Jan 17

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ALGIERS - Twenty-five foreign hostages escaped and six were killed on Thursday when Algerian forces launched an operation to free them at a remote desert gas plant, Algerian sources said, as one of the biggest international hostage crises in decades unfolded.

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TOKYO/SEATTLE - Airlines scrambled on Thursday to rearrange flights as Europe, Japan, Qatar and India joined the United States in grounding Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner passenger jets while battery-related problems are investigated.

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BEIRUT - More than 100 people were shot, stabbed or possibly burned to death by government forces in the Syrian city of Homs, a monitoring group said on Thursday, as fierce fighting raged across the country.

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ISLAMABAD - A Muslim cleric calling for the Pakistani government to resign said on Thursday he had reached an agreement with the administration and would call a halt to the street protests in Islamabad that triggered a political crisis four days ago.

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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey - Tens of thousands of Kurds poured onto the streets of the Turkish city of Diyarbakir on Thursday for the funeral of three Kurdish activists killed in Paris, chanting slogans as coffins passed through the crowds.

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LONDON - Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his 2000 Olympic Games cycling time trial bronze medal by the International Olympic Committee, continuing the once dominant rider's spectacular fall from grace after a doping storm.

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JAKARTA - Heavy monsoon rain triggered severe flooding in large swathes of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, on Thursday, bringing the city to a halt with many government offices and businesses forced to close because staff could not get to work.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130117/reuters-world-news-highlights-at-1700-gmt-jan-17