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Reuters World News Highlights at 0610 GMT, Mar 11

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

March 11 (Reuters) - TOP STORIES

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BEIJING - China unveiled a government restructuring plan on Sunday, cutting cabinet-level entities by two and dissolving its powerful Railways Ministry, as the country's new leaders look to boost efficiency and combat corruption.

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SEOUL - North Korea has cut off a Red Cross hotline with South Korea as it escalates its war of words against Seoul and Washington in response to a military drill in the South and U.N. sanctions imposed for its recent nuclear test.

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ROME/ATHENS - Seven foreign hostages kidnapped last month by a Nigerian Islamist group from a construction company compound have been killed, the Italian and Greek foreign ministries said on Sunday.

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NEW DELHI - The driver of the bus in which a young Indian woman was gang-raped and fatally injured three months ago hanged himself in New Delhi's Tihar jail on Monday, police said.

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CARACAS - Venezuela's opposition leader vowed on Sunday to fight late Hugo Chavez's preferred successor for the presidency next month and the pair quickly locked horns in an angry war of words.

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PHNOM PENH - Under Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, Meas Mut and Sou Met, now two-star generals, 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. Those allegations are plunging Cambodia into soul searching over how far to pursue war-crimes accusations against former commanders.

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KABUL - Afghan President Hamid Karzai ratcheted up his criticism of the United States on Sunday, 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.

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AMMAN - Syrian rebels broke 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.

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DUBAI - Iran's parliament has passed a three-month stop-gap budget while it debates President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's full-year spending proposals, delivered nearly 90 days late at a time when economic sanctions have cast doubt over future revenue.

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JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his outgoing cabinet on Sunday for what he said was probably the last time, signalling he was close to completing the formation of a new government.

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ISLAMABAD - Hundreds of Pakistani Christians took to the streets across the country on Sunday, demanding better protection after a Christian neighbourhood was torched in the city of Lahore a day earlier in connection with the country's controversial anti-blasphemy law.

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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.

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TAIPEI/HONG KONG - Taiwan regulators, under pressure from a public worried that Beijing may meddle in their media, have begun talking tough on TV and newspaper deals by Taiwanese businessmen with strong ties to the mainland.

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ROME - Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement said on Sunday it wanted to lead Italy's next government following last month's inconclusive election and reiterated that it would not agree to an alliance with any other party.

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KISUMU/MOMBASA, Kenya - Strongholds of defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga were peaceful on Sunday, apparently reflecting a desire by Kenyans to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed that followed the last election five years ago.

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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.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130311/reuters-world-news-highlights-at-0610-gmt-mar-11