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Reuters World News Highlights 1800 GMT Feb 11

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict said in a historic announcement he no longer had the mental and physical strength to run the Roman Catholic Church and would become the first pontiff in more than 700 years to resign, leaving his inner circle "incredulous".

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GAO, Mali - Malian troops hunted house-to-house in Gao on Monday for Islamist insurgents whose surprise attack inside the northern town at the weekend posed a risk of France's forces becoming entangled in a messy guerrilla war in Mali.

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LONDON - The British government on Monday intensified its campaign to stop Scotland leaving the United Kingdom, publishing a legal opinion saying it would forfeit its membership of international bodies such as the European Union if it chose independence.

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AMMAN/BEIRUT - Rebels have captured Syria's biggest hydro-electric dam and battled army tank units near the centre of Damascus, activists said as the opposition renewed an offer on Monday to negotiate the departure of President Bashar al-Assad.

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BUCHAREST - Romania's prime minister said on Monday any fraud over horsemeat sold as beef had not happened in his country and he was angered by suggestions it might have been.

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LONDON/VIENNA - Iran appears to have resumed converting small amounts of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel, diplomats say, a process which if expanded could buy time for negotiations between Washington and Tehran on its disputed nuclear programme.

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TUNIS - A party led by interim President Moncef Marzouki said on Monday it had "frozen" its withdrawal from Tunisia's coalition government while talks continue on a political crisis sharpened by the killing of an opposition politician.

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UNITED NATIONS - As the United States pushes for an end to the U.N. arms embargo on Somalia, U.N. monitors are reporting that Islamist militants in the Horn of Africa nation are receiving arms from distribution networks linked to Yemen and Iran, diplomats told Reuters.

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MOSCOW - Group of 20 policymakers have an ideal chance in Moscow this week to ponder whether monetary policy largesse will blunt their will to carry out the economic reforms needed to put global growth on a sustainable footing.

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ALLAHABAD, India - A stampede at a railway station in northern India killed at least 36 Hindu pilgrims on Sunday, the busiest day of the world's largest religious festival at which some 30 million had gathered to wash away their sins in the sacred Ganges river.

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MOSCOW - An underground methane gas explosion killed up to 18 miners at a coal pit in northern Russia on Monday and President Vladimir Putin dispatched his disasters minister to the scene to oversee rescue efforts.

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CAMBRIDGE - The U.S. Northeast was digging out on Sunday after a blizzard dumped up to 40 inches (one meter) of snow with hurricane force winds, killing at least nine people and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130211/reuters-world-news-highlights-1800-gmt-feb-11