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Obama Calls on Assad to Step Aside

U.S. President Barack Obama demanded Thursday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "step aside" and imposed tough sanctions on Damascus including an asset freeze and ban on U.S. investments in Syria.

"We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside," Obama said.

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Please Don't Wear our Clothes... We'll Pay You!

Abercrombie & Fitch has offered to pay Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino, a character in hit reality show "Jersey Shore," to stop wearing its clothes, fearing its image is being tarnished.

The offer includes other members of the MTV show's brash, foul-mouthed, spray-tanned Italian-American cast, and A&F is "urgently awaiting a response," the U.S. fashion retailer said in a statement.

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Depardieu 'Was Trying to Pee into Bottle' on Delayed Flight

France's best-known film star Gerard Depardieu insisted Wednesday he had been trying to urinate discreetly into a bottle when he splashed a plane's carpet and caused a flight delay, friends said.

Earlier, Air France-KLM subsidiary CityJet said the actor had been escorted off a Paris to Dublin service on Tuesday after he relieved himself on the floor of the cabin as it was taxiing towards the runway for take-off.

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Mile High ‘Blub’: Virgin ‘Weepy’ Warnings for in-Flight Films

British airline Virgin Atlantic said Wednesday it is putting warnings on weepy films shown during flights because of concerns that emotional passengers might burst into tears.

The "weepy warnings" will initially appear on the Hollywood romantic dramas "Water for Elephants" and "Just Go With It", flashing up at the start to advise passengers that the movie has the potential to prompt tears.

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Switzerland Recalls Ambassador to Syria

Switzerland has decided to recall its ambassador to Damascus for consultations in protest at Syria's crackdown on protestors, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

"The unacceptable behavior of the Syrian security service has led the foreign ministry to recall the ambassador from his post in Damascus for consultations in Bern," the ministry said in a statement.

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7 Die in Attacks on Eilat: Israel Retaliates, Hamas Denies Involvement

Seven Israelis were killed in a string of coordinated attacks in southern Israel Thursday, and hours later the Israeli military hit back with angry air raids on Gaza militants it said were responsible.

The bloodshed, which killed six civilians and a soldier on two desert roads near the Red Sea resort town of Eilat, prompted a wave of international condemnation led by the White House.

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Libya Rebels Claim Control of Key Refinery

Libyan rebels pushing to cut off Tripoli claimed on Thursday to have seized a key oil refinery which is a major source of fuel for the capital.

A rebel commander said late Wednesday that his fighters had managed to "gain control of the refinery" in the town of Zawiyah, some 40 kilometers west of Tripoli.

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U.N.: Horn of Africa Food Crisis Shameful

A worsening food crisis affecting more than 12 million people in the Horn of Africa is unacceptable and should make the world feel ashamed, the head of the U.N. food agency said on Thursday.

"It is unacceptable for more than 12 million people to be at risk of starvation today," Jacques Diouf, head of the Food and Agriculture Organization, said at the start of a conference on the drought crisis in Rome.

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'Qaida' Gunmen Seize South Yemen Town

Suspected al-Qaida gunmen have seized control of the town of Shaqra in lawless Abyan province, a stronghold of the jihadist network in southern Yemen, a local official said on Thursday.

"al-Qaida fighters have attacked positions of armed tribesmen" tasked with defending the town on Wednesday, and have "managed to drive them away without any resistance," the official told Agence France Presse.

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London Police Seek New Chief after Riots

London police are on the hunt for a new chief after a nightmare summer during which its boss quit over the phone-hacking scandal and the force was widely criticized for its failure to prevent riots.

A month after Metropolitan Police commissioner Paul Stephenson and one of his deputies resigned in 24 hours, the deadline closed Wednesday for applications to become Britain's top police officer leading the country's biggest force.

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