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Bomb Kills Three Soldiers in Pakistan

Three Pakistani soldiers and an anti-Taliban fighter were killed on Sunday in two separate bomb attacks in Pakistan, officials said.

The first incident took place in Salarzai town, about 20 kilometers northeast of Khar, the main city in Bajaur tribal district along the Afghan border when a remote-controlled bomb hit a shop, killing an anti-Taliban militiaman and wounding three others, an official said.

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Bahrain Teenager Killed as Police Crush Demo

Bahraini police fired tear gas grenades to disperse protesters, killing a Shiite protester in the Sunni-ruled country where tensions have been running high, the opposition said on Sunday.

Meanwhile the newly-appointed police chief said 500 officers would be recruited across the country, including Shiites, to help bolster community relations as the country tries to "learn lessons" from past unrest.

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Erdogan Meets Haniya, Backs Palestinian Reconciliation Efforts

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks on Sunday with Gaza's Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya and voiced his support for Palestinian reconciliation efforts, media reports said.

Haniya is in Istanbul as part of his first official regional tour since his Islamist movement seized power in the Palestinian enclave in 2007, the Anatolia news agency reported.

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Palestinian, Israeli Negotiators to Meet for 1st Time in Months

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators will meet for the first time in more than a year in Jordan on Tuesday to discuss stalled peace talks, the Jordanian foreign ministry said on Sunday.

"Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on Tuesday will host a meeting including the Quartet as well as Israeli and Palestinian officials," ministry spokesman Mohammad Kayed said.

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Arab Parliament Head Calls for Withdrawal of Syria Monitors

An Arab League advisory body called on Sunday for the immediate withdrawal of an observer mission in Syria saying the deadly crackdown on protest continues despite the presence of monitors.

The speaker of the Arab parliament, ِAli Salem al-Diqbassi, urged Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi to "immediately pull out the Arab observers, considering the continued killing of innocent civilians by the Syrian regime."

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Iran Tests First Domestically Made Nuclear Fuel Rod

Iran defiantly announced on Sunday that it had tested a new missile and made an advance in its nuclear program after the United States unleashed extra sanctions that sent its currency to a record low.

The developments raised the stakes in a budding confrontation between the longtime foes, as concerns mounted that Iran could make good on threats to close the world's most important oil route, the Strait of Hormuz, if it is backed into a wall.

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Ahmadinejad: Central Bank to Face New U.S. Sanctions with Strength

Iran's central bank will confront new U.S. sanctions with "strength," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday, a day after U.S. leader Barack Obama signed into law extra measures against the institution.

"The central bank is the backbone of dealing with the enemies' pressure and it must with strength and self-confidence have the solidity to eliminate all of the enemies' plots," he told an annual assembly of the bank's senior officials, according to a statement on the presidency website.

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Five Dead in New Year Blast in Kenyan Town

Five people were killed in a New Year's Eve hand grenade attack and shooting in a bar in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa near the border with Somalia, police said Sunday.

"There was an explosion in a club in town shortly before midnight (Saturday) and five people died," a senior police officer at Northeast provincial headquarters told AFP.

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Maliki to Iraqis: Explode, But Not Like a Bomb

Leader of a country that regularly suffers deadly attacks, Nouri al-Maliki joked on Sunday that while Iraq needed to unleash the explosive energy of its people, he did not mean "like a car bomb."

Marking the end of an agreement with Washington that allowed U.S. troops to be stationed in the country, Iraq's prime minister said that though the task of rebuilding would be difficult, he believed there was "energy in our people."

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New Year's Party Rocks around the World

Extravagant firework displays lit up the skies from Sydney to New York in a global New Year's party as people around the world set aside their worries to welcome 2012.

Turning the page on a year of financial turmoil in Europe and the United States, uprisings across the Arab world, devastation in Japan, and the dramatic killing of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in his Pakistani hideout, revelers danced to pop stars, drank champagne, and cheered out the final seconds of 2011.

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