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Reuters World News Highlights 1000 GMT, Feb 28

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict slips quietly from the world stage on Thursday after a private last goodbye to his cardinals and a short flight to a country palace to enter the final phase of his life "hidden from the world".

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ROME - Western and Arab officials will meet representatives of the Syrian opposition in Istanbul next Monday to discuss military and humanitarian support for rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, a European diplomatic source said on Thursday.

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ROME - An Italian political crisis that has rattled the euro zone deepened on Wednesday when two party leaders ruled out the most likely options to form a government and avoid a new election.

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TOKYO - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated an advocate of aggressive policy action to head the Bank of Japan, challenging the opposition to back his push for radical action as officials warned that a nascent economic upturn could easily be derailed.

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BEIJING - China is signalling that it is keen to get on top of troubled ties with the United States, Japan and North Korea with the likely appointment of two officials with deep experience of these countries to its top diplomatic posts.

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NEW DELHI - India unveiled higher-than-expected spending for fiscal 2013/14 on Thursday, aiming to fund it with higher revenues - including new taxes on the rich and large companies - in a budget aimed at reviving growth amid the country's worst slowdown in a decade.

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MOSCOW - French President Francois Hollande will raise concerns about Russia's human rights record with Vladimir Putin on Thursday but he sought to play down differences that might undermine trade ties.

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SAN FRANCISCO/TOKYO - Boeing Co and the Japanese firm that makes lithium-ion batteries for the 787 Dreamliner disagree about what should be included in a package of measures aimed at getting the airliner back in the air, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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MEXICO CITY - The arrest of Mexico's best-known trade union leader on fraud charges has thrown down the gauntlet to powerful interests standing between President Enrique Pena Nieto and his plans to shake up Latin America's second-biggest economy.

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LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's prime minister-designate promised on Thursday she would be able to heal its banks and avoid an international bailout after a banking crisis that dethroned her conservative predecessor just a year into office.

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KABUL - An Afghan police officer drugged 17 colleagues and shot them dead on Wednesday with the aid of the Taliban, police said, the latest in a series of so-called "insider" attacks involving Afghan security forces and the Taliban.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130228/reuters-world-news-highlights-1000-gmt-feb-28