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GCC Leaders to Meet as Region Struck by Upheaval

Leaders of the wealthy Gulf Arab states will meet at their annual summit in Riyadh on Monday, against a backdrop of accelerating regional turmoil and fears of growing Iranian influence after the U.S. pullout from Iraq.

"Several regional issues impose themselves on the summit this year," including relations with Iran as well as the situation of Syria and Yemen, the Omani minister for foreign affairs, Yussef ben Alawi Abdullah, told Agence France Presse.

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20 Civilians, 6 Troops Killed in Fresh Syria Violence

Twenty civilians and six regime soldiers were killed in violence in Syria on Sunday as clashes raged between deserters and regular army troops in centers of protest against the regime, human rights activists said.

Security forces shot dead 20 civilians across the country, the Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, reported.

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Hamas, Fatah Begin Talks in Cairo on Reconciliation Deal

The rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas began meeting in Cairo on Sunday to discuss ways of implementing a stalled reconciliation deal, an official said.

Delegates from the two factions met "to prepare for the comprehensive dialogue" which is to take place on Tuesday in the Egyptian capital, Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Fatah delegation told Agence France Presse.

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Troops, Protesters Clash in Cairo for 3rd Day

Troops and protesters clashed Sunday in Cairo for the third straight day, pelting each other with rocks in skirmishes near parliament in the heart of the Egyptian capital.

At least 10 protesters have been killed and 441 others wounded in the three days of violence, according to the Health Ministry. Activists say most of the 10 fatalities died of gunshot wounds.

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20 Injured in Grenade Attack in Southeast Afghanistan

At least 20 people were wounded when a man threw grenades at a police vehicle in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, an official said.

Grenade attacks are relatively uncommon in Afghanistan but it was the second time in less than 48 hours that police have been targeted in such a way.

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Israel to Free 550 More Palestinian Prisoners

Israel was on Sunday preparing to release 550 Palestinian prisoners who will be freed after nightfall to complete a swap deal which brought about the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit.

The release operation was expected to take place late in the evening, when the prisoners would be bussed to drop-off points near the West Bank city of Ramallah and along the Gaza border.

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Bus Crash in Western Nepal Kills 15

A bus has plunged off a narrow mountain road in western Nepal killing 15 people, police said Sunday, the latest in a string of deadly accidents on the country's highways

The driver lost control in thick fog on a highway on the country's western border with India, 700 kilometers (435 miles) west of Kathmandu.

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Barak: Israel, U.S. 'Determined' to Halt Iran Nuclear Drive

Israel and the United States are determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and do not rule out any option to that end, Israel's defense minister said on Sunday.

"Our two countries clearly believe that a nuclear Iran is neither conceivable nor acceptable and we are determined to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons," Defense Minister Ehud Barak told public radio, two days after meeting U.S. President Barack Obama.

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Kuwaitis Held by Iran for 'Spying' Return Home

Two Kuwaiti journalists who were detained in Iran for more than a month on spying charges returned home on Sunday after being freed, the Gulf emirate's media reported.

Adel al-Yahya, a presenter for private satellite television channel al-Adalah, and freelance cameraman Raed al-Majed flew in on a special flight ordered by the Kuwaiti emir, the al-Watan daily reported on its website.

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4 Dead after Oil Platform Sinks in Russia, Rescue Halted

At least four people died and 49 were missing in freezing water after an oil rig in Russia's Far Eastern Okhotsk Sea overturned Sunday in the country's second major water accident since July.

The Kolskoye oil rig platform with 67 on board was 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the shore when the accident occurred at 0145 GMT amid high winds and temperatures of minus 17 degrees Celsius (1.4 Fahrenheit).

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