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Reuters World News Highlights 2200 GMT Feb 28

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict ended his difficult reign on Thursday pledging unconditional obedience to whoever succeeds him to guide the Roman Catholic Church at one of the most crisis-ridden periods in its 2,000-year history.

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ROME - Western powers pledged aid for Syrian rebels on Thursday but stopped short of offering them weapons, disappointing opponents of President Bashar al-Assad clamouring for more arms.

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WASHINGTON - A day before sweeping budget cuts begin, the White House and Republicans blamed each other on Thursday for failure to prevent a fiscal crisis which the International Monetary Fund warned could slow the U.S. and world economies.

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WASHINGTON - In President Barack Obama's latest act in support of gay rights, his administration will urge the U.S. Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriages to resume in California, an administration official said on Thursday.

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FORT MEADE - The U.S. Army private accused of providing secret documents to the WikiLeaks website pleaded guilty on Thursday to misusing classified material he felt "should become public," but denied the top charge of aiding the enemy.

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SAN ANTONIO - U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan on Thursday will ask a military judge to move his murder trial out of Fort Hood, Texas where he is charged with killing 13 people during a shooting rampage in 2009, according to a statement from Fort Hood.

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ROME - Italy's electoral earthquake seems to have condemned the country to the thing it needs least - a short-term government and new elections in as little as six months or a year.

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LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's new prime minister-designate pledged on Thursday to heal its banks and avert an international bailout, taking the reins of the once-thriving euro zone member at the height of its worst economic crisis in 22 years of independence.

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MOSCOW - French President Francois Hollande said new partners were needed to broker talks on ending the Syria crisis and Vladimir Putin promised to consider the proposal.

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BRUSSELS - A new cap on bankers' bonuses agreed overnight in Brussels was hailed by its supporters as a breakthrough to rein in the financial sector, but attacked by critics as a reckless move that would drive bankers abroad or force up base pay.

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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.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130228/reuters-world-news-highlights-2200-gmt-feb-28