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Friday Disappears in Samoa's Great Leap Forward

Samoans go to bed Thursday and will wake up on Saturday in an historic time zone switch which the Pacific island state's prime minister says will take the country forward to a more prosperous future.

Samoa currently sits to the east of the International Date Line -- which runs through the middle of the Pacific -- meaning that it is 11 hours behind GMT and is one of the last places on Earth to see the dawn.

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Italy's Monti Makes Fun of His Grey Man Image

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti made fun of his sober image on Thursday, quipping that he was not a robot and had appreciated a German newspaper's description of him as "the ideal son-in-law."

"I am the ideal son-in-law because I don't talk much, I dress in a serious and banal way and I don't make much noise," Monti told reporters at an end-of-year press conference.

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Vietnam Cargo Ship Sinks, 22 Dead

A Vietnamese cargo boat that vanished near the Philippines on Christmas Day has sunk, killing 22 of its 23 crew members, Vietnam state shipping firm Vinalines said Friday.

"According to our initial information, only one sailor has been rescued and the vessel has not been found yet," a Vinalines official based in Hanoi told AFP, asking not to be named.

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Saudi Says U.S. Jet Deal Aims to Maximize Defense

Saudi Arabia said Friday it has signed a deal to buy 84 new U.S. fighter jets to maximize its defense capabilities in order to protect the oil-rich kingdom.

The deal the United States said is worth $30 billion "ensures the kingdom receives the highest possible defense capabilities to protect its people and land," state news agency SPA quoted a Defense Ministry spokesman as saying.

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Domenech Donates World Cup Bonus

Former France coach Raymond Domenech has donated 150,000 euros he earned as a bonus in the 2010 World Cup to two amateur football clubs and a charity, it was reported Friday.

Le Parisien newspaper said that Domenech had given 70,000 euros to the Athletic Club de Boulogne-Billancourt (ACBB), with the remaining 80,000 euros split between an inner-city football club and a charity.

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NBA: Durant Buzzer Beater Lifts Thunder over Mavs

Kevin Durant's buzzer-beating three-pointer gave Oklahoma City a 104-102 NBA victory over Dallas on Thursday that left the reigning champion Mavericks without a win in three games this season.

Durant finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka contributed 16 points apiece as the Thunder overcame 26 turnovers to improve to 4-0 in the lockout-shortened season that began on Sunday.

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Wozniacki, Azarenka in Thai Flood Fundraiser

World number one Caroline Wozniacki has arrived in Thailand for a charity tennis match against Victoria Azarenka to raise money for the country's recent flood crisis, a spokeswoman said Friday.

Denmark's Wozniacki will play world number three Azarenka of Belarus on Sunday in the coastal resort Hua Hin, with ticket revenues going to relief efforts for inundations that swamped huge areas of the country and left nearly 800 dead.

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Tennis: Hewitt Still up for the Fight

Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt says reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Speaking in Perth as he prepared for the mixed teams Hopman Cup, the 30-year-old said he was not ready to hang up his racquet just yet, despite a string of injury setbacks that has seen his ranking plummet.

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Basketball Great Jordan Engaged

Michael Jordan, the NBA Hall of Famer who is now majority owner of the league's Charlotte Bobcats, is engaged to marry longtime girlfriend Yvette Prieto, a spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

The 48-year-old Jordan and 32-year-old Prieto -- a Cuban-American model -- have reportedly been dating since 2008. No wedding date has been announced.

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Talk of Henry 'Return' Galvanizes Arsenal

Arsenal fans are hoping talk of Thierry Henry rejoining the club will inspire the current side to victory over London rivals Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

The 34-year-old France international, 34, scored a record 226 goals for the Gunners from 1999 to 2007 and has been training with Arsenal as his current club, New York Red Bulls, are in their close season.

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