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Study Shows Couch Potatoes Double Risk of Lung Blood Clots

Lying around for long stretches outside of work doubles the risk of dangerous blood clots in the lungs, according to a study among women released Tuesday.

The study looked at the risk of pulmonary embolism -- blood clots in the lungs that typically arise from a vein constriction in the legs -- among 69,950 female nurses over an 18-year period.

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Overweight Men Have Poorer Sperm Count

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

In what they described as the largest study of its kind, doctors looked at sperm samples from 1,940 men and matched them to the donor's weight.

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French Protest Boat Quits Greece for Gaza

A small French pleasure craft with eight protesters on board left Greek waters overnight and set off for Gaza in an attempt to break an Israeli naval blockade, organizers said Tuesday.

The "Dignite al Karama" is so far the only boat in a planned flotilla organized by pro-Palestinian activists to set sail from Greece, after the authorities there blocked other vessels from taking part in the protest.

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Report: Gadhafi Conditionally Ready to Step Down

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is ready to cede power in exchange for security guarantees; an unnamed senior Russian official was quoted as saying in Tuesday's edition of the Kommersant business daily.

The press report came one day after NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen discussed Libya in Russia with President Dmitry Medvedev.

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Malaysian PM to Meet Pope, Eyes Ties with Vatican

Prime Minister Najib Razak is due to meet Pope Benedict XVI mid-July as Malaysia embarks on a plan to establish diplomatic relations with the Vatican, a top official said Tuesday.

"The meeting with Pope Benedict XVI is set for July 18. The meeting with the pope is to show that Malaysia respects all religions," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

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UAE Pledges $3 Billion in Assistance to Egypt

The United Arab Emirates has pledged $3 billion in financial assistance to Egypt during a visit to the oil-rich Gulf state by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, state media said.

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan "has issued directives to allocate an aid package of $3 billion for Egypt," the official WAM news agency reported late on Monday.

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2 Turkish Soldiers Shot Dead in Kurdish Town

Two soldiers were shot dead Tuesday in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast in an attack believed to be the work of Kurdish rebels, security sources said.

The soldiers, wearing civilian clothes, came under fire while walking on the main street of Yuksekova town, a hotbed of Kurdish militancy in the province of Hakkari, which borders Iran and Iraq, the sources said.

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Barak Blocks Return of Militants' Remains

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has blocked plans to hand over to the Palestinians the remains of 84 militants killed since 1967, a statement from his office said early on Tuesday.

Barak's intervention came just hours after the military confirmed the transfer had been recently approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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French Journalist 'to Sue' Strauss-Kahn for Attempted Rape

A French writer is set to launch legal action for attempted rape against former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, just days after he was released from house arrest in New York on sexual assault charges.

Tristane Banon, 32, indicated she would send "a complaint for attempted rape" against Strauss-Kahn to prosecutors, likely on Tuesday, her lawyer David Koubbi told the news magazine L'Express on its website.

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Libya Denies Punishing Rally Boycotts with Executions

The Libyan government on Tuesday denied accusations that it had executed detainees as punishment for their families' failure to join a rally in support of veteran leader Moammar Gadhafi.

"This report is baseless and no newspaper or (other) news agency reported anything of the kind," a statement from the government said, accusing Agence France Presse of "putting its credibility at stake."

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