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Queen Elizabeth II Marks 60 Years on Throne

Queen Elizabeth II marks 60 years as monarch on Monday with a deliberately low-key programme of visits to eastern England, kicking off five months of diamond jubilee celebrations.

The queen will visit the town hall in King's Lynn and then a nearby school, six decades to the day since she ascended to the throne after her father King George VI suddenly died on February 6, 1952.

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Hamas, Fatah Ink Deal in Doha, Abbas to Head Interim Govt.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to head an interim consensus government under a deal signed with Hamas on Monday, ending a long-running disagreement over the post that stalled Palestinian reconciliation.

The accord signed in Qatar was welcomed by officials from both rival Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah, but Israel warned Abbas to choose between reconciliation with Hamas and making peace with the Jewish state.

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At Least 69 Killed as Syrian Regime Pounds Protest Hubs

Syrian forces rained rockets and shells down on protest hubs on Monday, activists said, as another 66 civilians died in the regime's crackdown on dissent.

The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) said the regime was surrounding Homs with tanks ahead of "a major offensive" and warned of a "genocide" in the central Syrian city.

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Obama Says No Israel Decision on Iran Attack

U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday he did not think Israel had made a decision on whether to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear installations, a threat that has rattled the region.

Obama -- seeking to reassure Americans over the danger posed by Tehran's suspect nuclear program, and any negative side-effects for the United States -- said Washington was working "in lockstep" with Israel to bring Iran to heel.

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43 Dead in Strong Philippine Quake

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the central Philippines on Monday, killing 43 people and causing widespread panic in cities where buildings shook violently.

The powerful quake hit in a narrow strait between the heavily populated island provinces of Negros and Cebu, leaving fissures on roads, damaging bridges, and shutting down the power supply, officials said.

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Sarkozy Defends Diplomatic Record ahead of Vote

French President Nicolas Sarkozy defended his diplomatic record on Sunday ahead of an election in April, praising France's role in Europe and Libya but admitting that some errors had been made.

In a wide-ranging interview with French quarterly review Politique Internationale, Sarkozy highlighted what he said were diplomatic successes in reforming Europe, ending the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia and intervening in Libya.

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Two Southern Activists Killed in Yemen

Two southern activists were killed and seven wounded in clashes with police in the Yemeni province of Hadramut on Sunday, activists said.

They said the clashes took place in the city of Mukalla as security forces intervened to evacuate a police station overrun by activists opposed to Yemen's presidential election of February 21.

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Judge Wants Iraqiya MP's Immunity Lifted

A judge has called for parliament to lift the immunity of an MP with the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, the deputy and a judicial spokesman said Sunday, at a time of crisis with Iraq's Shiite-led government.

Two other MPs who are opponents of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also face arrest warrants and requests for their immunity to be lifted. Parliament is to vote on the three cases "soon", according to a parliamentary source.

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Iran Hails Russian, Chinese Veto on Syria

Iran on Sunday welcomed the Russian and Chinese veto on a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning its ally Syria for its crackdown on dissent, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"By vetoing the proposed sanctions China and Russia have been just," Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said.

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Turkey Slams Lebanon for Not Condemning Syria Crackdown

Turkey on Sunday criticized the Lebanese government, saying it has not voiced “a single word” to condemn the Syrian regime’s deadly crackdown on dissent.

“Has Lebanon voiced a single word to express its solidarity with our Muslim brothers who are being slaughtered? No, only Turkey has raised its voice,” Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said.

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