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Reuters World News Highlights at 2200 GMT, Feb 22

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Feb 22 (Reuters) - TOP STORIES

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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 successfully argued the "Blade Runner" was too famous to flee justice.

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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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VIENNA - Iran appears to be advancing in its construction of a research reactor Western experts say could offer the Islamic state a second way of producing material for a nuclear bomb, if it decided to embark on such a course, a U.N. report showed.

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. air travel system faces widespread disruptions if automatic government spending cuts go into effect next week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said on Friday, as the administration kept up a steady drum beat of pressure on congressional lawmakers to delay the cuts.

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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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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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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.

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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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WASHINGTON - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe brought a clear message to Washington on Friday: "I am back and so is Japan."

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GAO, Mali - Five people were killed in a remote Malian town on Friday in car bomb attacks by Islamists on Tuareg MNLA rebels with close links to French forces, a spokesman for the Tuareg fighters said.

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BEIRUT - Rockets struck two eastern districts of Aleppo city on Friday, killing at least 12 people and trapping many families in the ruins of their homes, activists in the city said.

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WASHINGTON - The United States accused cyclist Lance Armstrong on Friday of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service by taking its sponsorship money at the same time he was doping and using performance-enhancing drugs in violation of cycling rules.

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WASHINGTON - The Pentagon on Friday suspended the flights of all 51 F-35 fighter planes after a routine inspection revealed a crack on a turbine blade in the jet engine of an F-35 test aircraft in California. (Reporting By Jon Hemming)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130222/reuters-world-news-highlights-at-2200-gmt-feb-22