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Reuters World News Highlights 2200 GMT, Jan 31

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

BEIRUT/AMMAN - Syria warned on Thursday of a possible "surprise" response to Israel's attack on its territory and Russia condemned the air strike as an unprovoked violation of international law.

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VIENNA - Iran has announced plans to install and operate advanced uranium enrichment machines, in what would be a technological leap allowing it to significantly speed up activity the West fears could be put to developing a nuclear weapon.

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WASHINGTON - Republican lawmakers harshly attacked Chuck Hagel on Thursday at a contentious hearing over his nomination to become the next U.S. defense secretary, questioning his judgment on war strategy and putting him broadly on the defensive.

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WASHINGTON - The White House said on Thursday it is disbanding President Barack Obama's jobs council, a group of high-profile chief executives who gave advice on how to spur growth, even as 12 million Americans remain out of work.

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CAIRO - Egypt's feuding politicians renounced violence on Thursday after being summoned by the country's most influential Muslim scholar to talks to end the deadliest unrest since President Mohamed Mursi took power.

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WASHINGTON - The United States has hinted it might try Middle East peace-making once again, but Secretary of State-designate John Kerry is likely to move cautiously, in contrast to U.S. President Barack Obama's failed, high-profile first-term initiative.

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GENEVA - U.N. human rights investigators called on Israel on Thursday to halt settlement expansion and withdraw all half a million Jewish settlers from the occupied West Bank, saying that its practices could be subject to prosecution as possible war crimes.

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MADRID - Spain's ruling People's Party denied on Thursday that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and other leaders received payments from a slush fund after a newspaper published what it said were secret party accounts.

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ISTANBUL - Kurdish militants said on Thursday media reports that its fighters had agreed to withdraw from Turkey as part of a peace pact to end their 28-year-old insurgency were lies and part of a psychological war.

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TIMBUKTU, Mali - Mali's president offered Tuareg rebels talks on Thursday in a bid for national reconciliation after a French-led offensive drove their Islamist former allies into mountain hideaways.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130131/reuters-world-news-highlights-2200-gmt-jan-31