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Reuters World News Highlights at 1800 GMT, Feb 22

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Feb 22 (Reuters) - TOP STORIES

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ROME - Italy's election campaign drew to a close on Friday with the weak performance of outgoing premier Mario Monti key to a deeply uncertain and potentially unstable result.

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PRETORIA - A South African court granted bail on Friday to Oscar Pistorius, charged with the murder of his girlfriend on Valentine's Day, after his lawyers argued the "Blade Runner" was too famous to flee justice.

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TUNIS - Tunisia's prime minister-designate Ali Larayedh, a hardliner from the main Islamist Ennahda party, said on Friday he hoped to form a "government of all Tunisians", but opposition leaders swiftly signalled discontent.

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GAO, Mali - Five people were killed in two car bomb attacks by Islamists on pro-autonomy MNLA Tuareg rebels in a remote Malian town bordering Algeria, a spokesman for the fighters operating said on Friday.

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VIENNA - Iran has begun installing advanced centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment plant, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Thursday, a defiant step that will worry Western powers ahead of a resumption of talks with Tehran next week.

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BEIRUT - Ninety people died in Thursday's four bombings across Damascus, a violence monitoring group said, making it one of the bloodiest days in the Syrian capital since the outbreak of a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad nearly two years ago.

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KANSAS CITY - A major winter storm headed northeast into the U.S. Great Lakes on Friday and threatened New England after blanketing states from Minnesota to Ohio with blinding snow, sleet and freezing rain.

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NICOSIA - The third-placed candidate in Cyprus's presidential election refused on Friday to endorse either remaining candidate in Sunday's runoff, closely watched by markets as the island teeters on the brink of financial meltdown.

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HYDERABAD, India - India had intelligence agency warnings of a security threat several days before two bombs went off in a market in the city of Hyderabad, the interior minister said on Friday, adding that the death toll had risen to 16.

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LOS ANGELES - The moguls of Hollywood might engage in more backslapping than usual at Sunday's Oscars, and it won't necessarily be over those golden statuettes.

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VATICAN CITY - In Havana last March, when Pope Benedict sat down with Fidel Castro, the revolutionary leader jocularly asked his fellow octogenarian: "What does a pope do?"

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TOKYO - What do you buy the nation that already seems to have everything?

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BRUSSELS - The euro zone will not return to growth until 2014 and struggling Spain and France will be among those who miss debt-cutting targets as a result, the European Commission said on Friday. (Reporting By Jon Hemming)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130222/reuters-world-news-highlights-at-1800-gmt-feb-22