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Alonso Still Believes in Ferrari Title Dream

Former double world champion Fernando Alonso believes that Ferrari will break Red Bull's Formula One title stranglehold "sooner rather than later".

Sebastian Vettel has taken Red Bull to back-to-back world championships, but Spanish driver Alonso came close in 2010 when only a strategic error in the Abu Dhabi finale allowed his German rival to triumph.

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Hitler's Desk Set Sells for $423,000 in U.S.

A brass desk set inscribed "AH" and used by Adolf Hitler at the signing of the Munich Pact, which preceded World War II, has sold for $423,000, a U.S. auction house said.

The ceremonial desk set, including ink wells and the Nazi crest of an eagle and swastika, had been expected to fetch at least half a million dollars.

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U.S. Congress Rebuffs Easing of Iran Sanctions

Republicans and Democrats determined to look tough on Iran and avoid any election-year challenges to their pro-Israel bona fides are rebuffing Obama administration pleas to ease proposed penalties on Iran's central bank.

The administration argues that the crippling penalties would undercut a carefully calibrated international effort targeting Tehran and would drive up oil prices, a potential economic boon that would help finance Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon while hitting cash-strapped Americans at the gas pump.

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Toyota Cuts Full-Year Profit Forecast by 54%

Toyota slashed its full-year net profit forecast on Friday by more than half as Japan's biggest automaker grapples with a strong yen, the impact of the March earthquake and record flooding in Thailand.

The company cut its profit outlook to 180 billion yen ($2.3 billion), well down from its August estimate of a 390 billion yen net profit, which was pared after the Thai floods forced plant closures and caused supply-chain problems.

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Jordan Warns Israel over Aqsa Ramp Closure

Jordan, the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, warned Israel on Friday against closing a wooden access ramp to the sensitive al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City.

"Jordan rejects any Israeli attempt to affect Jerusalem's holy sites, identity and heritage, including al-Moughrabi Gate" that leads to the compound's al-Buraq Wall, known to Jews as the Western Wall, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said.

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Yahoo! Launches Online Comedy Channel

Yahoo! is adding a comedy channel to its online line-up, kicking it off with a "CrazyStupidPolitics" show starring Bill Maher live in Silicon Valley in February.

"Bill Maher's special is a groundbreaking event, not only for Yahoo! and Bill but for the Internet as the first ever, live, free broadcast online," said Erin McPherson, head of Yahoo! Video.

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Hundreds of NASA's Moon Rocks Missing

Researchers have sticky fingers when it comes to NASA's moon rocks and meteorites, and hundreds of samples have gone missing after being loaned out by the U.S. space agency, an audit said Thursday.

NASA Inspector General Paul Martin issued a report detailing foibles such as the U.S. space agency making loans to researchers who never used the samples, or simply losing track of rare pieces dating back to the first U.S. trip to the Moon in 1969.

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Robin Hood Bistro Cooks up Community Help

At a Montreal bistro aptly named Robin des Bois, or Robin Hood, volunteers are cooking up a storm to help those down on their luck by giving away the profits.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Judy Servay, a former advertising executive once known for throwing Christmas parties with a twist -- clients and employees would gather to make meals for the homeless.

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Israeli Raid on Gaza Kills 1, Injures 12, Including children

An Israeli air strike killed a Gaza civilian and wounded 12 others, including seven children, when it hit a home next to a militant training ground, medics said on Friday.

The Israeli army expressed regret that civilians were hurt but blamed Gaza's Hamas rulers for operating within residential areas.

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Opposition Says Syria Forces Poised for Bloody Homs Assault

Syria's opposition warned Friday of a looming "massacre" as it reported thousands of regime forces and militiamen encircled the protest hub of Homs for an expected final assault to crush dissent.

The Syrian National Council issued the alert ahead of nationwide protests following the main weekly Muslim prayers called for in support of a campaign of escalating strikes starting on Sunday.

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