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(All times GMT/ET)


Fiscal talks fail, U.S. stumbles toward steep budget cuts

WASHINGTON - U.S. government stumbles headlong toward wide-ranging spending cuts that threaten to hinder economic recovery, after President Obama and congressional leaders fail to find an alternative budget plan. (USA-FISCAL/ (WRAPUP 5, PIX, TV), moved, by Richard Cowan and Jeff Mason, 1,200 words)

+ See also:

- USA-FISCAL/MARKETS (UPDATE 5), moved, by Steven C. Johnson and Jason Lange, 1,171 words

Turkish PM's Zionism comments "objectionable" -Kerry

ANKARA - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says United States finds comment by Turkey's prime minister, likening Zionism to crimes against humanity, "objectionable", overshadowing their talks on crisis in neighbouring Syria. (USA-TURKEY/ (UPDATE 6), moved, by Arshad Mohammed and Jonathon Burch, 841 words)

Syria risks 'dissolution', U.N. chief says

GENEVA - Syria will fall apart if its government and rebels keep fighting instead of seeking negotiated peace, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says. (SYRIA-CRISIS/BAN (UPDATE 2), moved, by Stephanie Nebehay, 437 words)

+ See also:

- SYRIA-CRISIS/REBELS (TV), moved, by Mariam Karouny, 451 words


Venezuela rebuffs 'absurd' rumors over Chavez death

CARACAS - Venezuelan officials and relatives of Hugo Chavez counter crescendo of rumors that socialist president may be dead from cancer, saying he continues to battle for his life. (VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ/ (UPDATE 2, PICTURE, TV), moving shortly, by Andrew Cawthorne, 600 words)

Chavez's cancer puts Venezuela on undeclared vote footing

CARACAS - Opposition leaders plot strategy behind closed doors. The government's presumed candidate blitzes airwaves. Posters plaster walls. Hugo Chavez is still president, but Venezuela feels like a nation heading fast toward election for his successor. (VENEZULA-CHAVEZ/ELECTION (ANALYSIS, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Andrew Cawthorne, 1,000 words)


Ex-pope relaxes as cardinals prepare for vote

VATICAN CITY - A relaxed and rested Pope Emeritus Benedict read messages from well-wishers and strolls in his retirement palace gardens as cardinals due to elect his successor plan pre-vote meetings for next week. (POPE-SUCCESSION/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor, 600 words)

+ See also:

- POPE-SUCCESSION/SCANDALS (PICTURE, TV), moved, by Philip Pullella, 900 words

- POPE-SUCCESSION/DOLAN (INTERVIEW, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor, 700 words


- POPE-SUCCESSION/POSTER, moved, 350 words

Italian president rules out new vote as parties wrangle

ROME/BERLIN - President Giorgio Napolitano rules out an early return to the polls as Italy's parties wrangle over how to form a government after this week's deadlocked election. (ITALY-VOTE/ (UPDATE 3, PICTURE, TV), moved, by James Mackenzie and Stephen Brown, 930 words)

+ See also:

- ITALY-FINANCES/(UPDATE 2), moved, by Gavin Jones and Naomi O'Leary, 738 words

Anti-EU party humiliates UK's Cameron in vote

EASTLEIGH, England - Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party is beaten into third place in vote in southern England by party that wants Britain to leave European Union, prompting some lawmakers in his party to question his leadership credentials. (BRITAIN-POLITICS/EASTLEIGH (UPDATE 3, PIX), moved, by Costas Pitas, 868 words)

Sri Lanka film on war crimes makes debut at U.N.

GENEVA - Documentary purporting to show execution of civilians and other war crimes committed by Sri Lankan army has its first public screening but is swiftly rejected by government as part of "orchestrated campaign" against it. (SRILANKA-FILM/ (TV), moved, by Stephanie Nebehay, 717 words)


Kenya braces for repeat of election bloodshed

NAIROBI - Kenyans choose a new president on Monday in a closely fought election that has divided the east African nation and raised fears of a repeat of the bloodshed that followed the tightly contested race five years ago. (KENYA-ELECTIONS/ (PREVIEW, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Edmund Blair, 1,000 words)

South African police arrested, to face murder charges

PRETORIA - Eight South African policemen are arrested on suspicion of murder after dragging man tied to back of police truck through busy Johannesburg street in incident broadcast around world, government watchdog says. (SAFRICA-POLICE/(UPDATE 1, TV, PIX), moved, by Jon Herskovitz, 385 words)

Ethnic clashes erupt in Guinea capital

CONAKRY - Rival gangs fight with knives and truncheons in Guinea's crumbling seaside capital as ethnic tensions worsen ahead of election in unstable West African nation, witnesses say. (GUINEA-PROTESTS/ (UPDATE 1, TV, PIX), moved, by Saliou Samb, 496 words)

Mali locals say al Qaeda commander dead, France cautious

GAO, Mali, - One of al Qaeda's more feared commanders in Africa is killed by French air strikes in north Mali, sources close to Islamist militants and tribal elders say, but France says it cannot confirm this. (MALI-REBELS/QAEDA (UPDATE 1, TV, PIX), moved, by Cheick Diouara, 739 words)

4 million South Sudanese may struggle to eat in 2013- U.N.

JUBA - More than 4 million South Sudanese, third of African country's population, may go hungry at some point in 2013 despite higher harvest last year, United Nations says. (SUDAN-SOUTH/AID, moved, by Hereward Holland, 446 words)


Chinese trader accused of busting Iran missile embargo

Chinese businessman indicted in United States over sales of missile parts to Iran still makes millions of dollars from trade, say security officials who monitor compliance with Western and U.N. sanctions. (CHINA-IRAN/TRADER (EXCLUSIVE), moved, by William Maclean and Ben Blanchard, 1,246 words)