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Reuters World News Highlights 1800 GMT March 7

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

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SEOUL/UNITED NATIONS - North Korea threatened the United States on Thursday with a preemptive nuclear strike, raising the level of rhetoric just before the U.N. Security Council approved new sanctions against the reclusive country.

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WASHINGTON - In his week of outreach to Republican senators, U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday will have lunch with the top Republican and Democrat on the House of Representatives Budget Committee in a bid to bridge differences on the nation's pressing fiscal issues.

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CARACAS - Saluting, clenching fists and making the Roman Catholic sign of the cross over Hugo Chavez's casket, Venezuelans crowded on Thursday to see their deceased leader one last time and pledge that his socialist revolution will not die.

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BEIRUT - Rebels holding 21 U.N. peacekeepers near the Golan Heights in southern Syria say government forces must stop their bombardment and leave the area before their "guests" can be freed, a rebel activist said.

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NAIROBI - Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga's campaign team said some of the results of Sunday's election had been doctored and called for the vote count to be halted, remarks that could inflame a largely peaceful poll.

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MOSCOW - A dancer accused of organising an attack that nearly blinded the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director admitted on Thursday he had wanted him beaten up, but said he was shocked when he heard that his face had been splashed with acid.

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MILAN - An Italian court sentenced ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday to one year in jail over the publication by his family's newspaper of a transcript of a leaked wiretap connected to a banking scandal in 2006.

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FELDA SAHABAT, Malaysia - Malaysian security forces said they killed 31 Filipino militants in overnight clashes in eastern Sabah state as Prime Minister Najib Razak rejected a ceasefire offer from the armed group staking an ancient claim to the resource-rich region.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130307/reuters-world-news-highlights-1800-gmt-march-7