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(All times GMT/EST)


Car bombs hit Baghdad's Shi'ite districts, 26 killed

BAGHDAD - Multiple car bombs explode in Shi'ite neighbourhoods across Iraq's capital Baghdad, killing at least 26 people in morning blasts that tore into shops, restaurants and busy commercial streets. (IRAQ-VIOLENCE/ UPDATE 2 (PICTURE, TV), expect by 1200, By Kareem Raheem, 600 words)

Pakistan faces growing anger over sectarian bombings

QUETTA, Pakistan - Pakistan's government, which is gearing up for elections expected within months, faces growing anger for failing to improve security after a sectarian bombing in the city of Quetta kills 81 people. (PAKISTAN-SHI'ITES/ (UPDATE 3, TV), moved, by Gul Yousufzai, 650 words)

Pope makes penultimate Sunday address

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict delivers his penultimate noon Sunday address before going into a week-long Lenten retreat that will be a foretaste of his retirement at the end of the month (POPE-RESIGNATION/, (PICTURES, TV) expect by 1200 GMT/7 AM ET, , by Philip Pullella, 600 words)

Cyprus votes for leader to steer it past financial storm

NICOSIA - Cypriots go to the polls to elect a president who must negotiate a financial rescue to save the small island nation from a bankruptcy that would reignite the euro zone debt crisis (CYPRUS/ (UPDATE 2, PICTURE, TV) expect by 1200, by Michele Kambas and Deepa Babington, 600 words)


Tourists turn out for pope

VATICAN CITY - Roman and foreign tourists take one of the few remaining chances to see and hear Pope Benedict, whose decision to resign caused more surprise than sadness (POPE-RESIGNATION/CROWD (PICTURES, TV), expect by 1200 GMT/7 AM ET, by Robin Pomeroy, 550 words)

Cardinal says Latin American or African pope possible

VATICAN CITY - Cardinal Kurt Koch, a close aide of Pope Benedict, says tells Reuters he sees no reason why the next pope cannot be an African or Latin American (POPE-REISGNATION/KOCH/(INTERVIEW, PICTURES, TV), expect 1400 GMT/ 9AM ET, by Philip Pullella, 650 words)

Cardinals approach papal vote focusing on practicalities

VATICAN CITY - After Pope Benedict's papacy, the cardinals who will elect the next pontiff are more European, more conservative and more "Roman" than the conclave that chose him in 2005 (POPE-RESIGNATION/CARDINALS (PICTURES, TV), moved by Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor, 1200 words)


Mediator Brahimi seeks Syria/opposition talks at U.N.

CAIRO - International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi calls for talks between the Syrian opposition and an "acceptable delegation" from the Damascus government on a political solution to the country's 23-month-old civil war. (SYRIA-CRISIS/BRAHIMI (UPDATE 2), moved, 350 words)


Ecuador votes for president, Correa seen winning new term

QUITO - Ecuadoreans vote for a president in a ballot expected to hand incumbent Rafael Correa a new term to advance his socialist agenda of heavy government spending and expansion of state power that critics slam as creeping authoritarianism (ECUADOR-ELECTION/ (PIX, TV), moved, by Brian Ellsworth, 800 words)


U.N. says delayed Congo peace deal due to be signed Feb. 24

UNITED NATIONS - A delayed U.N.-mediated peace deal aimed at ending two decades of conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is due to be signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Feb. 24, the United Nations says. (CONGO-DEMOCRATIC/UN, moved, by Michelle Nichols, 650 words)


Romanian cinema triumphs again with top Berlin award

BERLIN - Romania claims another scalp on European film festival circuit when "Child's Pose" wins Golden Bear in Berlin, underlining emergence as powerhouse of hard-hitting cinema in the post-Communist era (FILM-BERLIN/, moved, pix, tv, by Mike Collett-White, 700 words)

- FILM-BERLIN/ (FACTBOX), moved, 130 words