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Venezuela's Hugo Chavez dead from cancer

CARACAS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dies after two-year battle with cancer, ending socialist leader's 14-year rule of South American country, Vice President Nicolas Maduro says in televised speech. (VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ/ (UPDATE 8, TV, PIX), moved, by Andrew Cawthorne and Daniel Wallis, 403 words)

+ See also:

- VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ/OBITUARY (PIX), moved, by Daniel Wallis, 1,688 words

- VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ/FACTS (FACTBOX), moved, by Andrew Cawthorne and Daniel Wallis, 698 words



US, China agree UN sanctions draft; N.Korea renews threats

UNITED NATIONS - United States and China reach deal that "significantly expands" U.N. sanctions on North Korea for its third nuclear test, eliciting renewed threat by Pyongyang to scrap armistice that ended 1950-53 Korean War. (KOREA-NORTH/UN (UPDATE 7, TV), moved, by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols, 1,027 words)

+ See also:

- KOREA-NORTH/LUXURY (UPDATE 1), moved, by Louis Charbonneau, 678 words

U.S. more confident arms flow to Syria moderates

DOHA - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington is increasingly confident that weapons being sent to Syrian opposition by other countries go to moderate forces. (SYRIA-CRISIS/KERRY (UPDATE 4, PIX, TV), moved, by Arshad Mohammed and Regan Doherty, 748 words)

War crimes suspect takes lead as Kenya counts votes

NAIROBI - Politician wanted for war crimes in the Hague leads in Kenya's presidential vote tally with about half of ballots counted in country hoping to avert repeat of ethnic carnage during its vote five years ago. (KENYA-ELECTIONS/(UPDATE 6, PIX, TV), moved, by Yara Bayoumy and George Obulutsa, 1,108 words)


U.S. Congress moving swiftly to avoid government shutdown

WASHINGTON - U.S. Congress moves rapidly to pass legislation funding federal government through Sept. 30, as Senate leaders express eagerness to avoid any threat of agency shutdowns when money runs out March 27. (USA-FISCAL/SPENDING, moved, by Richard Cowan and David Lawder, 638 words)

+ See also:

- USA-FISCAL/STUDENTAID, moved, by Elvina Nawaguna, 635 words

U.S. Senate intelligence panel OKs Brennan CIA nomination

WASHINGTON - Senate Intelligence Committee votes overwhelmingly to approve John Brennan as President Obama's new CIA director, after committee resolves dispute with White House over access to classified legal opinions on targeted killings of U.S. citizens overseas. (OBAMA-NOMINATIONS/BRENNAN (UPDATE 1), moved, by Mark Hosenball and Patricia Zengerle, 768 words)

In shift from campaign pledge, Paul Ryan floats Medicare age tweak

WASHINGTON - House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan floats plan that would force Medicare cuts onto people aged 56 and younger, breaking a campaign promise not to touch benefits for those older than 55. (USA-FISCAL/MEDICARE, moved, by David Lawder and Kim Dixon, 500 words)

Senator Schumer says no dice for high-skilled immigration bill

WASHINGTON - Sen. Charles Schumer, member of bipartisan group crafting comprehensive U.S. immigration reform, urges technology firms to stop lobbying for stand-alone bill on high-skilled immigrants, saying such narrow legislation will not pass. (USA-IMMIGRATION/SENATE, moved, by Alina Selyukh, 300 words)


Canadian minister lauds pipeline to U.S., eyes other markets

CHICAGO - Top Canadian cabinet minister tries to persuade United States that it should approve controversial oil pipeline and says Canada also looks to other markets to sell its oil. (USA-CANADA/PIPELINE (UPDATE 1), moved, by Tom Polansek, 577 words)


INSIGHT-Japan's 'Long War' to shut down Fukushima

TOKYO - Just months after Quince was deployed to inspect Japan's tsunami-devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, $6 million robot got trapped in its dark and winding pathways. Seventeen months later, high-tech soldier is still missing in action -- symbol of daunting decommissioning project that will take decades, require huge injections of human and financial capital and rely on yet-to-be developed technologies. (JAPAN-FUKUSHIMA/(INSIGHT, PIX, GRAPHICS), moved, by Mari Saito, Kiyoshi Takenaka and James Topham, 2,165 words)

More bark than bite as Beijing takes aim at housing speculation

BEIJING - China's plans to curb property speculation are likely to be more bark than bite, and markets over-react because of uncertainty over how local governments will implement measures including 20 percent capital gains tax on house sales. (CHINA-PROPERTY/ (PIX), moved, by Langi Chiang and Jason Subler, 903 words)


U.S. efforts on Iran not working, Syria planning underway -Mattis

WASHINGTON - Top U.S. general says American efforts aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapon are not working, even as he voices support for crippling sanctions and diplomatic efforts aimed at isolating Islamic state. (USA-IRAN/SYRIA, moved, by Phil Stewart, 747 words)


Bolshoi Ballet dancer detained over acid attack

MOSCOW - Russian police detain one of Bolshoi Ballet's top dancers over acid attack that nearly blinded troupe's artistic director and exposed fierce backstage rivalries at famed theatre. (RUSSIA-BOLSHOI/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Timothy Heritage and Alissa de Carbonnel, 667 words)


'Nightmare bacteria,' shrugging off antibiotics, on rise in U.S.

NEW YORK - "Nightmare bacteria" that have become increasingly resistant to even strongest antibiotics infect patients in 3.9 percent of all U.S. hospitals in first half of 2012, including 17.8 percent of specialty hospitals, public health officials say. (HEALTH-BACTERIA/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Sharon Begley, 704 words)