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Two French Citizens Kidnapped in Mali

A gang of armed men kidnapped two French nationals from their hotel in northeastern Mali overnight, local security sources told Agence France Presse on Thursday.

The two geologists were seized by seven men from their hotel in the village of Hombori, the sources said, in the latest abduction of foreigners in the restive country where al-Qaida militants are active.

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Spotify Hits 2.5 Million Paying Subscribers

Swedish online music star Spotify said Wednesday ahead of a mystery announcement next week that it has reached 2.5 million paying subscribers.

"Fanfare! Drum roll! Yes, we're excited to announce that we've now welcomed 2.5 million paying subscribers to the service," Spotify said in a blog post.

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Disney Comes to YouTube

Disney films were available for rent on YouTube on Wednesday in the latest bid by the Google-owned website to transform into an online stage for the gamut of digital video content.

The first of hundreds of films from Disney studios including Pixar and DreamWorks joined the array of Hollywood titles that can be viewed as streaming rentals at youtube.com/movies.

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Kuwait Holds 24 over Parliament Storming

Kuwait on Thursday remanded in custody 24 opposition activists pending further investigation on charges they stormed the parliament building last week, their lawyer said.

"After interrogation all night, the public prosecutor this morning remanded them in police custody until Thursday night when questioning will resume," said Al-Humaidi al-Subaie, coordinator of the opposition defense team.

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Cuba Lashes out Against 'Vulgarity' in Popular Music

Cuba on Wednesday took aim at "vulgarity" in popular music, decrying the sexually graphic lyrics that are increasingly common in music played by young people on the communist island.

"We note with great concern that in the past few years there has been a... type of artistic expression, including in popular Cuban music, that leaves much to be desired," read the opinion piece appearing in the daily Granma newspaper.

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Learn From Shakespeare, Study Tells Doctors

Doctors should read up on Shakespeare, according to an unusual medical study that says the Bard was exceptionally skilled at spotting psychosomatic symptoms.

Kenneth Heaton, a doctor at the University of Bristol in western England, trawled through all 42 of Shakespeare's major works and 46 genre-matched works by contemporaries.

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Mansour Says Arab Sanctions on Syria are Rejected

Lebanon will not endorse any potential Arab League sanctions against Syria, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said, as the organization prepared to meet on Thursday to discuss measures against Damascus.

"Lebanon will not endorse any sanctions by the Arab League against Syria," Mansour, who is loyal to Hizbullah, told Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) before heading to Cairo for the meeting.

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Kenyan Troops Wounded in Border Blast

A Kenyan soldier was killed and four seriously wounded Thursday when an explosive device blew up their truck close to the border with war-torn Somalia, an army spokesman said.

"Five KDF (Kenya Defense Force) soldiers were seriously injured and have been airlifted to Garissa for treatment," Major Emmanuel Chirchir said, adding that one later "succumbed to his injuries."

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Kidnapped French Aid Worker Freed in Yemen

A French aid worker kidnapped in Yemen's restive south was released on Thursday, just two days after her abduction, an official told Agence France Presse.

"The Frenchwoman... was released along with two Yemenis," municipal official Hasan Ali told AFP.

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Abbas, Meshaal Hail New Palestinian 'Partnership'

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal on Thursday hailed a new era of partnership between their two rival movements at talks in Cairo aimed at cementing a stalled a unity deal.

Speaking to reporters after several hours of talks, the two leaders said they had managed to iron out their differences and turn over a new page in their strained relationship.

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