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Court Rejects Plea to Remove Chief Judge in Mubarak Case

An Egyptian court rejected Wednesday a petition to remove the chief judge in ex-president Hosni Mubarak's murder trial, filed by a lawyer claiming the judge favored the defense, state media reported.

"The Cairo appeal court has backed keeping judge Ahmed Refaat in the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak," the official MENA news agency reported, adding the court also fined the lawyer who moved to dismiss him.

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Britain Says Syria's Isolation Will Intensify

Syria's isolation will intensify if Damascus fails to stop killing protesters, the British Foreign Office's minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, said on Wednesday.

"These killings must stop," Burt told Agence France Presse in Tripoli, where he reopened the British Council which had been closed during the armed revolt against Moammar Gadhafi's regime.

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Netflix Says Streaming to Overtake Cable in 3-5 Years

Internet-streamed video will overtake cable to dominate home video viewing within three to five years, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings predicted Tuesday, with stiffer competition to come.

Hastings said that the rapid growth in high-volume home internet links over fiber optic cables will boost consumer use of on-demand viewing services over traditional cable viewing.

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Indonesia's Dancing Cop Fired after YouTube Fame

The Indonesian policeman who shot to fame in April by lip-synching and grooving to an Indian Bollywood hit in a YouTube video has been sacked and forced to hand in his badge.

Norman Kamaru, 26, captured the hearts of Bollywood film fans world over when he was discovered online in his police uniform mouthing the words and dancing to the song "Chaiyya Chaiyya".

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Iran Blocks U.S. 'Virtual Embassy'

Iran on Wednesday blocked an Internet website the United States was touting as a "virtual embassy," and which one senior MP slammed as an attempt to deceive the Iranian people.

The address, http://iran.usembassy.gov/, was inaccessible inside Iran, instead showing a message in Farsi saying: "In accordance with computer crime laws, access to this website is not possible."

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Syria's Assad Denies Orders to Kill Protesters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied ordering the killing of thousands of protesters and said "only a crazy person" would target his own people, in a U.S. television interview released Wednesday.

Speaking to ABC News, Assad brushed off widening international sanctions and questioned the U.N. death toll of more than 4,000 since the eruption of the unrest in March, saying most victims were government supporters.

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March 14: Hizbullah, AMAL Shut down Zahrani Plant to Increase their Control of Lebanon

The March 14 General Secretariat condemned on Wednesday Hizbullah and the AMAL movement’s shutdown of the Zahrani power plant, accusing them of committing militia practices aimed at harming the Lebanese state.

It said in a statement after its weekly meeting: “It was an attempt to increase their control over the legitimate state institutions and create more closed security and economic zones outside the state’s control similar to the zones that Hizbullah has created.”

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Yemen PM-Designate Says New Unity Government Formed

Yemen's Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Basindawa said on Wednesday he had finalized his new unity government and would disclose the line-up later in the day.

"The government has been formed and we will announce it formally this evening," Basindawa told Agence France Presse in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

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Syria Welcomes Turkey Vow Not to Allow Attacks

Syria's government on Wednesday welcomed a pledge by Turkey not to let its territory be used as a springboard for any attacks against its neighbors.

"We welcome any Turkish statement aiming to preserve good neighborly relations with Syria," foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Maqdisi told a news conference broadcast live on state television.

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IATA Says Airline Profits Set to Fall Sharply Next Year

Profits by airlines around the world are set to be far lower than previously forecast next year, the International Air Transport Association IATA said on Wednesday.

IATA, based in Geneva, said in a statement that it still estimated that airlines would make a total profit of $6.9 billion (5.1 billion euros) this year.

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