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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 election race starts, sources say Capriles to run

CARACAS - Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles will challenge the late Hugo Chavez's preferred successor for the presidency of the South American OPEC nation next month, sources say, setting the stage for a bitter campaign. (VENEZUELA-ELECTION/ (UPDATE 3, PIX, TV), moved, by Andrew Cawthorne and Marianna Parraga, 753 words)

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Cardinals pray before conclave to choose new pope

VATICAN CITY - Roman Catholic Cardinals prayed on Sunday 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)


Peace holds in heartlands of Kenya's election losers

KISUMU/MOMBASA, Kenya - Strongholds of defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga are peaceful, apparently reflecting a desire by Kenyans to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed that followed the last election five years ago. (KENYA-ELECTIONS/ (PIX), moved, by Hezron Ochiel and Drazen Jorgic, 630 words)


Syrian rebel fighters break through Homs siege -opposition

AMMAN - Syrian Sunni Muslim rebels have launched a counter-offensive to ease an army siege on their strongholds in the central city of Homs, breaking through government lines in the north and west, opposition sources say. (SYRIA-CRISIS/HOMS (PIX, TV), moved, by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, 491 words)

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

- SYRIA-CRISIS/REBELS-USA, moved, 362 words

- SYRIA-CRISIS/GOVERNMENT (UPDATE 1), moved, 285 words

- SYRIA-CRISIS/RIVER (TV), moved, 423 words


Grillo's party to tell Italy president it 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)

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

In vote, resource-rich Greenland debates new global role

NUUK, Greenland - Kuupik Kleist's earliest memories are hunting whales with hand-thrown harpoons. Now, as Greenland's prime minister, he is feted by Chinese and European leaders as he opens up its untapped mineral resources. A verdict on this country's transformation comes on Tuesday, when this island - a quarter the size of the United States and with only 57,000 mostly Inuit inhabitants - holds a general election. (GREENLAND-ELECTION/ (PIX), moved, by Alistair Scrutton, 1,362 words)

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- CLIMATE-GREENLAND/, moved, 511 words

Merkel's ailing FDP partners rally, launch election offensive

BERLIN - Germany's Free Democrats, Angela Merkel's junior coalition allies, pledge a combative election campaign based on fiscal discipline and liberal social policies, but a poll suggests they might not even make it into the next parliament.(GERMANY-FDP/, moved, by Sarah Marsh, 767 words)

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- BRITAIN-LIBDEMS/ (PIX), moved, by Tim Castle, 538 words

Vienna Philharmonic lifts lid on Nazi history

VIENNA - The Vienna Philharmonic orchestra is to publish details of its history during the Nazi era, responding to years of accusations of a cover-up. (AUSTRIA-ORCHESTRA/NAZIS, moved, by Georgina Prodhan, 710 words)

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- AUSTRIA-JEWS/, moved, by Georgina Prodhan, 1,400 words


Falklands votes in sovereignty referendum

STANLEY, Falkland Islands - Residents of the Falkland Islands start voting in a sovereignty referendum that seeks to counter Argentina's increasingly assertive claim over the British-ruled territory. (FALKLANDS-REFERENDUM/ (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved, by Juan Bustamante, 790 words)


U.S. pro-Israel group claims Hagel fight as a victory

WASHINGTON - J Street, a liberal Jewish-American lobbying group, barely five years old and once shunned by top Israeli officials, is claiming as a victory the fact that Chuck Hagel was confirmed as U.S. defense secretary despite opposition from more conservative Jewish groups. (USA-ISRAEL/JSTREET, moved, by Patricia Zengerle, 1,100 words)

Ryan says U.S. budget deal possible as he readies his own plan

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)

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