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(All times GMT/ET)


Italy and Greece confirm hostages killed in Nigeria

ROME/ATHENS - Seven foreign hostages kidnapped last month by a Nigerian Islamist group from a construction firm compound have been killed, the Italian and Greek Foreign Ministries say. (NIGERIA-HOSTAGES/ (UPDATE 4), moved, by Gavin Jones and Renee Maltezou, 726 words)

Venezuela opposition leader joins presidential race

CARACAS - Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles says he will challenge the late Hugo Chavez's preferred successor for the presidency next month, setting the stage for a bitter campaign. (VENEZUELA-ELECTION/ (UPDATE 5, PIX, TV), moved, by Andrew Cawthorne and Marianna Parraga, 737 words)


Cardinals pray before conclave to choose new pope

VATICAN CITY - Roman Catholic Cardinals pray for spiritual guidance ahead of a closed-door conclave to choose a new pope to lead the Church at one of the most difficult periods in its history. (POPE-SUCCESSION/ (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved, by Philip Pullella and Crispian Balmer, 753 words)

Afghanistan's Karzai blasts U.S., marring Hagel visit

KABUL - Afghan President Hamid Karzai ratchets up his criticism of the United States, marring a debut visit by the new U.S. defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, and highlighting tensions that could undermine Washington's strategy to wind down the unpopular war. (AFGHANISTAN-USA/TALKS (UPDATE 6, PIX, TV), moved, by Mirwais Harooni and Phil Stewart, 852 words)


India rape accused suicides inside jail-TV

DELHI - The driver of the bus in which a young India woman was gang-raped and murdered three months ago hanged himself in New Delhi's Tihar jail on Monday, TV news reports said.(INDIA-RAPE/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, 400 words)

Bellicose N.Korea forces China to shift stance on old friend

BEIJING - Six months ago, China's state media was lauding North Korea as a great place to invest as both countries tried to promote a cross-border economic zone. One nuclear test, a long-range rocket launch and much sabre-rattling later and China is a central player in new U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang.(KOREA-NORTH/CHINA (ANALYSIS, GRAPHIC, PICTURE), moved, Ben Blanchard and Sui-Lee Wee, 1,311 words)

- KOREA-NORTH/, moved, 309 words

New rules may ease China pollution from steel sector

BEIJING - New rules aimed at making China's sprawling steel sector greener will do little to tackle rampant overcapacity or help Beijing protect its big state-owned mills from smaller, nimbler rivals. (CHINA-POLLUTION/STEEL (PIX), moved, by David Stanway and Ruby Lian, 967 words)

Khmer Rouge genocide: justice delayed may be justice denied

PHNOM PENH - Under Cambodia's murderous Khmer Rouge, Meas Mut and Sou Met, now two-star generals in their 80s, are said to have hauled prisoners to S-21, a torture centre that symbolised the horrors of a regime that wiped out nearly a quarter of the population. (CAMBODIA-COURT/ (FEATURE, PIX), moved, by Prak Chan Thul, 1,078 words)


Syrian rebels pierce Assad's siege lines in Homs -opposition

AMMAN - Syrian rebels break through government lines to ease a siege of their positions in the strategic central city of Homs on Sunday despite coming under fierce aerial bombardment, opposition campaigners said. (SYRIA-CRISIS (WRAPUP 2, PIX, TV), moved, by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, 1,033 words)

- SYRIA-CRISIS/REFUGEES (UPDATE 3), moved, by Jonathon Burch, 709 words


Grillo to tell Italy president party can lead government

ROME - Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement says it wants to lead Italy's next government following last month's inconclusive election and reiterates that it will not agree to an alliance with any other party. (ITALY-VOTE/GRILLO, moved, by Gavin Jones, 478 words)

- ITALY-VOTE/LEFT, moved, by Gavin Jones, 513 words


Ryan says U.S. budget deal possible

WASHINGTON - The Republicans' point person on fiscal issues in Congress says compromise with President Barack Obama is possible on taxes and spending even though his soon-to-be-unveiled budget plan faces certain rejection from Obama's Democrats. (USA-BUDGET/RYAN, moved, by Andy Sullivan, 730 words)

- USA-BUSH/, moved, by John Whitesides, 481 words