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Yemen to Hold Presidential Vote on Feb 21

Yemen is to hold a snap presidential election on February 21 in keeping with an accord which led to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's resignation, his deputy said in a decree published on Saturday.

Vice President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi, to whom Saleh has handed over power under the Gulf-mediated accord, signed the decree which brings forward the election that had initially been due to take place in 2013.

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Jordan Says Syrian Sanctions Must Respect Interests

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said on Saturday that any Arab League sanctions against Syria must be compatible with the interests of each member country.

"We support Arab unity in regards to the Syrian issue, but as I said during the Arab League ministerial meeting (on Thursday), the interests of our country must be taken into consideration," Judeh said in joint news conference with his Cypriot counterpart.

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Iraq President Says U.S. Troops Needed for Training

Iraqi forces need an American troop presence or at least U.S. training forces, President Jalal Talabani has said, according to a Saturday statement on the Iraqi presidency's website.

Regarding "internal security, I believe that the police and army forces are capable of maintaining security as it is now," Talabani said in an interview with Iraqiya television, according to the statement.

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Austria Supports Renewed Sanctions against Syria

Vienna is in favor of further sanctions against the regime of Syria's Bashar Assad, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said in a radio interview Saturday.

"We cannot accept what Bashar Assad is doing to his countrymen at the moment -- shooting at protestors, hunting the opposition," Spindelegger told Oe1 radio, adding that "U.N.-led" sanctions should be reinforced and should target specific people.

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Tourists Evacuated from Timbuktu after Mali Kidnappings

Authorities on Saturday evacuated all tourists from the ancient city of Timbuktu in northern Mali, a day after three foreigners were kidnapped and another killed, an airport official said.

The 20 or so tourists were flown by government-chartered aircraft to Mopti, south of Timbuktu, and to the capital Bamako.

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Nigeria Hold Mass Burial for Clash Victims

The death toll in clashes between Muslim and Christian ethnic groups in central Nigeria has risen to 25, a local official said Saturday, following a mass burial that included four of his own children.

Pam Choji, a counselor in Barkin Ladi local government council, who lost four children in Wednesday's attack, said that 23 of the victims were entered on Friday.

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Pope Names U.S. Archbishop as New Envoy to Ireland

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday named U.S. archbishop Charles John Brown to be his new envoy to Ireland, after the previous ambassador was withdrawn during a row over child abuse scandals.

The 52-year-old Brown has been working since 1994 at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the main Vatican department that enforces Church teachings and is now charged with investigating thousands of abuse cases.

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U.N. Says Syria Needs Food but Not Humanitarian Corridors

The United Nations said Friday that international help is needed to feed 1.5 million people in crisis-torn Syria, but humanitarian corridors were not yet justified.

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said almost three million people out of Syria's population of about 20.5 million had been affected by the deadly crackdown on protests launched by President Bashar Assad since March.

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Egypt Military Ruler in Talks with el-Baradei, Moussa

Egypt's military ruler on Saturday held talks with presidential hopefuls Mohammed el-Baradei and Amr Moussa whose names have been touted by protesters as possible leaders of a new government.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi met separately el-Baradei, the former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, and Moussa, the ex-head of the Arab League, the official MENA agency said, as protesters demanding the end of military rule remained camped out in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

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Kinshasa Police Ban Campaign Rallies ahead of DR Congo Poll

Police banned all political rallies in Kinshasa Saturday after a man died in a stoning on the final day of campaigning for the Democratic Republic of Congo's national elections.

"We have decided to ban all gatherings and meetings, there has been a death," said Kinshasa police chief Jean de Dieu Oleko at Kinshasa airport, where thousands gathered to meet President Joseph Kabila and opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, the main rivals in Monday's polls.

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