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Volunteers Emerge from 520-Day 'Mars Voyage' Isolation

Six volunteers from a multi-national crew on Friday stepped out of an isolation module in Moscow after almost one-and-a-half years locked away from the outside world to simulate the effects of a return voyage to Mars.

A researcher broke the seal and then opened the door of the capsule and all six crew members, dressed in blue overalls, walked out one-by-one in good health to cheers from scientists and family who had gathered.

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It'll Be Tough without 'Schweini', Admits Bayern's Gomez

Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez is now Germany's highest goalscorer in Champions League history, but the hot-shot admits he will miss injured Bastian Schweinsteiger's silky passes.

Bayern are four points clear at the top of the German league and on Sunday in the Bundesliga take on Bavarian neighbors Augsburg, who are second from bottom, but Munich will be without playmaker Schweinsteiger.

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Spurs Come Unstuck in Russia, Five Teams Qualify in Europa League

Tottenham failed to provide their absent manager Harry Redknapp with a Europa League win after his heart operation on Thursday as elsewhere on the fourth batch of group matches five teams ensured safe passage to the round of 32.

The quintet joining already qualified Sporting Lisbon were Dutch duo PSV Eindhoven and FC Twente, Belgian giants Anderlecht, Polish outfit Legia Warszawa and Spain's Athletic Bilbao.

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23 Killed as Syria Offers Amnesty for Arms Surrender

Syrian troops killed at least 23 people Friday when demonstrators took to the streets denouncing "despots and tyrants," as world powers cast doubt on the regime's commitment to an Arab peace deal.

Troops raked several residential neighborhoods of Homs -- a city of some one million people that has been at the frontline of protests raging since mid-March -- with heavy machineguns mounted on tanks, a watchdog said.

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Hundreds of Foreigners Stranded in Everest Region

Around 1,500 foreign tourists have been stranded in the Everest region due to heavy fog that has halted flights from the only airstrip serving the area, a local aviation official said on Friday.

Thousands of foreign tourists visit the Everest region during the peak tourism season late in the year.

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Massive Throng of Muslims Begins Hajj Rites

More than 2.5 million Muslim pilgrims began on Friday the rites of the annual hajj pilgrimage, leaving the holy city of Mecca for Mount Arafat, where the prophet Mohammed is believed to have delivered his final hajj sermon.

Dressed in white, they flooded the streets as they headed towards Mina, around five kilometers east of the holy mosque.

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Japan Computer Smashes Speed Record

A Japanese supercomputer has broken its own record as the world's fastest machine by performing 10 quadrillion calculations per second, its developers announced.

The "K Computer", which has more than 88,000 central processing units -- the computer's "brain" -- compared with the fewer than four in the average desktop, smashed its own record of just over 8 quadrillion calculations during an experiment in October. A quadrillion is a thousand trillion.

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Vietnam Diplomat Warns of War in South China Sea

Territorial tensions in the South China Sea could explode into "full-scale conflicts" unless quarrelling neighbors abide by international law, a Vietnamese diplomat warned on Friday.

Dang Dinh Quy, president of the state-run Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, told a Hanoi conference on maritime disputes that the significance of the sea to regional peace was becoming increasingly evident.

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China Hits Out at U.S. Cyber Spying Accusations

Beijing on Friday hit out at a U.S. intelligence agency report accusing the Chinese of extensive cyber spying, saying it was unprofessional and irresponsible.

The unusually blunt report on foreign cyber spying submitted to the U.S. Congress on Thursday said the Chinese were the world's "most active and persistent perpetrators" of economic espionage.

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G20 Powers Pledge to Boost Growth

World economic powers will attempt to kickstart the global economy on Friday by boosting funds to fight the debt crisis and encouraging consumers to spend their way out of a threatened recession.

The shadow of debt-laden Greece still hung heavily over the second and final day of the Group of 20 summit in the French resort of Cannes, as Prime Minister George Papandreou faced a late-night vote of confidence in Athens.

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