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Reuters World News Highlights 1400 GMT, March 1

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

LONDON/BEIJING - European manufacturing appeared no closer to recovery last month while growth in Asia cooled, according to business surveys and trade data on Friday that pointed to ongoing weakness in global demand.

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. government hurtled on Friday toward making deep spending cuts that threaten to hinder the nation's economic recovery, after Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on an alternative deficit-reduction plan.

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MILAN - Italian centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani on Friday ruled out forming a coalition with Silvio Berlusconi to solve an intractable crisis after this week's inconclusive election.

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ANKARA - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will upbraid Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Friday for his description of Zionism as a crime against humanity, comments which could overshadow his first trip to a Muslim nation since taking office.

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EASTLEIGH, England - British Prime Minister David Cameron's ruling Conservative party was humiliated in an election in England on Friday after it was defeated by a scandal-ridden coalition partner and pushed into third place by an anti-EU party.

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JERUSALEM - Deadlocked talks with potential coalition partners have forced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek more time to build a new government and avert a snap election, officials said on Friday.

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RAMADI, Iraq - Iraq's finance minister told crowds of Sunni Muslim protesters on Friday he was resigning, after more than two months of demonstrations demanding an end to marginalisation of their minority sect.

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HONG KONG - China appears to be pressing ahead with plans to invest in a North Korean free trade zone in a sign that its recent nuclear test has not soured its economic ties with its only major ally.

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VATICAN CITY - With Pope Benedict XVI now officially in retirement, Catholic cardinals from around the world begin on Friday the complex, cryptic and uncertain process of picking the next leader of the world's largest church.

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KUALA LUMPUR - A standoff between Malaysian security forces and armed Filipinos erupted in violence on Friday, with two police officers and 12 members of the Philippine group killed as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak declared his patience had run out.

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PRETORIA - South Africa suspended eight police officers on Friday after the death of a man they had bound to a vehicle and dragged through a busy street in a videotaped incident that has further blackened the reputation of the police.

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VIENNA - Iran's negotiations with world powers over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme reached "a turning point" this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Thursday, suggesting a breakthrough was within reach.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130301/reuters-world-news-highlights-1400-gmt-march-1