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Morocco King Deplores 'Social Inequality'

Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Wednesday deplored the persistence of serious "social inequalities" in the kingdom in a speech marking the 15th anniversary of his accession to the throne.

He called the anniversary an "opportunity" to "proceed to examen our conscience".

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U.S. Says Israeli Criticism of Kerry 'Offensive, Absurd'

Israeli attacks against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accusing him being of a supporter of Islamic militants are "offensive and absurd," a senior U.S. diplomat said Wednesday.

In a sharp exchange with reporters, deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf hit out against a torrent of abuse from "respected voices in Israel talking about the secretary of state, claiming that he supports Hamas, which is offensive and absurd."

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Bolivia Declares Israel a Terrorist State

Bolivia on Wednesday renounced a visa exemption agreement with Israel in protest over its offensive in Gaza, and declared it a terrorist state.

President Evo Morales announced the move during a talk with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba.

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Israeli Negotiators Land in Cairo for Gaza Talks

An Israeli delegation arrived in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss with Egyptian officials a possible ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, airport officials said.

Cairo, a key mediator in truce negotiations between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers, was also expected to host a Palestinian delegation later this week.

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U.S. Unveils $378 mn in New Humanitarian Aid for Syria

The United States on Wednesday unveiled $378 million in new humanitarian aid for the Syrian people, denouncing "appalling 'starve or surrender' tactics" by the regime of President Bashar Assad.

"The regime is asphyxiating half a million Syrians in Aleppo by obstructing deliveries of food, water, and medicine," Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

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Switzerland in Talks over International Gaza Conference

The Swiss foreign ministry said Wednesday it is in talks about holding an international conference sought by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas focusing on protecting civilians in Gaza.

"Switzerland has begun consultations with state parties to the Geneva Conventions, following an official Palestinian request that a conference be held by the end of the year," said a ministry statement.

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Car Bombs Kill 15 in Shiite Baghdad Districts

Car bombs killed at least 15 people and wounded more than 40 Wednesday on the main streets of two Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad, police and medical sources said.

One explosion ripped through a petrol station in the large northern neighborhood of Sadr City at around 7:00 pm (1600 GMT), as cars were queuing to fill up, witnesses said.

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Filipina Nurse Kidnapped, Raped in Libya's Tripoli

Unknown kidnappers on Wednesday seized a Filipina nurse in the Libyan capital, held her for several hours and raped her, medics and security officials said.

A health ministry statement said the incident could push the Philippines government to speed up the evacuation of its citizens, 3,000 of whom work in Libya as doctors and nurses, as the country sinks further into chaos.

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Israel 'Deeply Disappointed' by LatAm Envoy Recalls

Israel expressed "deep disappointment" Wednesday after Chile, El Salvador and Peru recalled their ambassadors over its military campaign in Gaza, saying they are encouraging Hamas in its attacks on the Jewish state.

On Tuesday, El Salvador's foreign ministry recalled its envoy for urgent consultations, speaking of what it called "indiscriminate" Israeli bombing of Gaza.

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Tunisia Can't Cope with Massive Libya Refugee Influx

Tunisia cannot cope with any massive influx of refugees who might seek to enter the country from strife-torn neighboring Libya and will close its border if necessary, the foreign minister said Wednesday.

"Our country's economic situation is precarious, and we cannot cope with hundreds of thousands of refugees," as was the case during the 2011 revolution that ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Mongi Hamdi told a press conference.

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