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(All times GMT/ET)


Gunbattle rocks Gao after rebels surprise French, Malians

GAO, Mali - Islamist insurgents launch surprise raid in the heart of the Malian town of Gao on Sunday, battling French and local troops in a blow to efforts to secure Mali's recaptured north. (MALI-REBELS/ (UPDATE 4, PIX, TV), moved, by David Lewis, 900 words)

Scandal over European horsemeat exposes murky food chain

LONDON - A scandal over horsemeat contamination which erupted in Britain last week exposes a labyrinth of murky suppliers at the heart of Europe's giant food industry and prompts comparisons with an international criminal conspiracy threatening consumers. (BRITAIN-HORSEMEAT/, moved, by Tim Castle and Maria Golovnina, 800 words)

- FRANCE FOOD/HORSEMEAT (UPDATE 2), moved, 400 words

Iran nuclear fuel move may avert mid-year crisis

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. (IRAN-NUCLEAR/CONVERSIONS, moved, by Myra MacDonald and Fredrik Dahl, 1,200 words)


NATO's Afghanistan force gets new U.S. commander

KABUL - U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, expected to oversee the withdrawal of most foreign troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year, takes control of the NATO-led mission, in an elaborate ceremony which emphasises the country's sovereignty. (AFGHANISTAN-NATO/COMMAND (UPDATE 2, PIX, TV), moved, by David Alexander, 600 words)

India stampede kills dozens at world's largest religious festival

ALLAHABAD, India - A railway station stampede kills at least 36 people, mostly poor women pilgrims, on the busiest day of the world's largest religious festival, where some 30 million Hindus gathered to wash away their sins in the sacred Ganges river. (INDIA-KUMBHMELA/STAMPEDE (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moving shortly, by Sharat Pradhan, 500 words)


Obama to lay out U.S. economic growth plan

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama will describe his plan for spurring the economy in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, offering proposals for investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy and education, senior administration official says. (OBAMA-SPEECH/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Jeff Mason and Mark Felsenthal, 300 words)

+ See also:

- USA-OBAMA/SPEECH (FACTBOX), moved, 700 words

US Northeast digs out from blizzard, new storm brewing

BOSTON/NEW YORK - The U.S. Northeast starts digging itself out of a blizzard that has dumped up to 40 inches of snow with hurricane force winds, killing at least nine people and leaving about half a million customers without power. (USA-WEATHER/ (UPDATE 4, PIX), moved, 840 words)

Record $1 mln reward posted for fugitive ex-LA policeman

LOS ANGELES - A record $1 million reward is posted for information leading to the capture of a fugitive former Los Angeles policeman suspected of targeting police officers and their families in three killings. (USA-CALIFORNIA/COP (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved, by Brandon Lowrey, 700 words)


Britain to Scotland: lose global clout if you exit UK

LONDON - The British government intensifies its campaign to stop Scotland leaving the United Kingdom, publishing a legal opinion suggesting it would forfeit its membership of international bodies such as the European Union. (BRITAIN-SCOTLAND/EU, moved, by Andrew Osborn, 700 words)


Opposition "would talk to government in northern Syria"

AMMAN - Syrian National Coalition leader Moaz Alkhatib says he is willing to hold peace talks with President Bashar al-Assad's representatives in rebel-held areas of northern Syria. (SYRIA CRISIS/OFFER (UPDATE 3), moved, by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, 600 words)

- USA SYRIA/, moved, by David Alexander, 500 words


UN monitors see arms reaching Somalia from Yemen, Iran

UNITED NATIONS - As the United States pushes for an end to the U.N. arms embargo on Somalia, U.N. monitors report that Islamist militants in the Horn of Africa nation are getting arms from distribution networks linked to Yemen and Iran, diplomats say. (SOMALIA-ARMS/UN (EXCLUSIVE), moving shortly, by Louis Charbonneau, 900 words)

Tunisian president's party quits Islamist-led government

TUNIS - Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki's secular party withdraws from an Islamist-led government already reeling from last week's assassination of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid. (TUNISIA-POLITICS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Tarek Amara and Alistair Lyon, 600 words)

Have hired guns finally scuppered Somali pirates?

ABOARD RMS QUEEN MARY 2 - Posted between septuagenarian passengers in deck chairs, lookouts stand watch over the Gulf of Aden, scanning the horizon for pirates. After more than half a decade of Somali men attacking Indian Ocean shipping from small speed-boats with AK-47s, grappling hooks and ladders, the number of attacks is falling fast. (SOMALIA-PIRACY/ (PIX), moved, by Peter Apps, 1,420 words)


Ecuador's Correa: from boyhood leader to firebrand president

QUITO - Despite polarized views on Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, opinion polls show the country of 15 million people is almost certain to hand him a new term in a presidential election. (ECUADOR-ELECTION/CORREA (TV, PIX), expect by 1100 GMT/ 6 AM ET, by Eduardo Garcia and Brian Ellsworth, 1,700 words)


Affleck's "Argo" wins BAFTA for best film

LONDON - Ben Affleck's "Argo" is crowned best film at the BAFTAs while Daniel Day-Lewis bags yet another leading actor award for the title role in "Lincoln" as an increasingly familiar awards season script unfolds in London. (FILM-BAFTAS/ (UPDATE 3, PIX), moved, by Estelle Shirbon, 700 words)

FUN., Gotye, Mumford & Sons win big at Grammys

LOS ANGELES - Gotye, FUN. and Mumford & Sons take home top honors at the Grammy Awards, which recognized the work of rap, indie-pop, folk and rock artists. (MUSIC-GRAMMYS/ (UPDATE 4, PIX, TV), moving shortly, by Piya Sinha-Roy, 600 words)