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Russia not solely responsible in implementing Ukraine deal

Russia will not be the only party held responsible for implementing an agreement on easing tensions in Ukraine, a Kremlin spokesman said Friday, adding that threats of further sanctions by Washington were "absolutely unacceptable". "Our Western colleagues are trying to push responsibility (for the implementing the deal) towards our side. But it must be underlined: it is a collective responsibility," said Dmitry Peskov, quoted on Rossiya 1 television. lpt/hmn/er

Bomb blast kills 14 at mosque in Syria's Homs - state TV

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A bomb went off in front of a mosque and killed 14 people in Homs, Syrian state television said on Friday, with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad looking close to wresting the symbolic central city back from rebels. "Fourteen people were killed and dozens wounded in a terrorist bomb in front of the Bilal al Habshi mosque ... as people left the mosque," state television said. The mosque is in a government-controlled part of Homs.

Greek Christians mark rare Good Friday in Turkish north Cyprus

By Michele Kambas FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus (Reuters) - Hundreds of Greek Orthodox pilgrims, some coming home after 40 years of forced exile, commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus in a rare Good Friday service in northern Cyprus on Friday. Held in this medieval walled city in the Turkish part of the divided island, the ceremony at the 14th-century St. George Extorinos church was the idea of local authorities who invited the faithful from the Greek part of the island to visit.

Bahraini man dies two months after being shot by police: family

MANAMA (Reuters) - A Bahraini man died on Friday from shotgun pellet wounds sustained during clashes with police almost two months ago, rights activists said, becoming the first person to be killed in such circumstances since February last year. Rights campaigners said Abdul-Aziz al-Abbar, 27, was hit by a teargas canister and shotgun pellets fired by riot police at a funeral procession. It is not uncommon in Bahrain for funerals to turn into public expressions of discontent, sometimes leading to clashes with police.

Bahraini man dies two months after being shot by police: family

MANAMA (Reuters) - A Bahraini man died on Friday from shotgun pellet wounds sustained during clashes with police almost two months ago, rights activists said, becoming the first person to be killed in such circumstances since February last year. Rights campaigners said Abdul-Aziz al-Abbar, 27, was hit by a teargas canister and shotgun pellets fired by riot police at a funeral procession. It is not uncommon in Bahrain for funerals to turn into public expressions of discontent, sometimes leading to clashes with police.

Bank of Cyprus sells business in Ukraine, Romania reducing risk to balance sheet

FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus - Cyprus' largest bank says it has sold off its business in Ukraine and a stake in a Romanian bank to help reduce risk and improve cash flow for the troubled lender. Bank of Cyprus says it has completed the sale of its loss-making operations in Ukraine to Alfa Group for 202.5 million euros ($280.5 million) — 10 per cent less than the original price. It has also sold a 10-per cent stake in Banca Transilvania for 82 million euros ($113.6 million).

Canada development partnership with U.A.E. builds bridges into Arab world

OTTAWA - Canada has a new development partner in the Arab world, and the foreign-aid minister says it could help the Harper government navigate the complex Middle East in the fight against poverty. Canada signed a development co-operation agreement with the United Arab Emirates this week at a major international development meeting in Mexico. The deal's main goals are to reduce poverty, support economic growth and promote human rights.

Syria army advances in besieged Homs

Syrian army forces made advances on Friday around the Old City of Homs, where some 1,200 rebels are dug in and under regime siege, a security source told AFP. In a government-held district of the city, meanwhile, 14 people were killed when a car bomb exploded outside a mosque after the weekly Muslim prayers, state television reported. The army, which began a broad offensive against rebel-held parts of the central city on Tuesday, "is progressing daily by capturing buildings and tightening the noose around the terrorist groups," the security source said.

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi

A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73. The 55-year-old woman, whose nationality was not disclosed, was suffering from chronic illnesses, a statement said. The health ministry said five other people living in Riyadh were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, two of them foreigners. Late on Thursday, the ministry reported the death of a 70-year-old Saudi woman in the western city of Jeddah where the virus has spread in recent weeks.

EU urges Israel to reverse West Bank moves

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton called on Israel Friday to reverse recent actions, such as announcing new settlements in the occupied West Bank, to bolster faltering peace talks. Ashton viewed with "great concern" an Israeli decision to declare an area near the Gush Etzion settlement south of Bethlehem as state land and approval of a new Jewish settlement in the southern city of Hebron, a statement from her office said. The continued demolition of Palestinian property and the confiscation of EU humanitarian aid were also worrying, Ashton added.
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