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Ben Ali Gets 15 Years in Jail over Drugs and Weapons Charges

A Tunis court on Monday sentenced ousted Tunisian president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in his absence to 15 years in jail for possession of arms, drugs and archaeological artifacts.

In his second trial, Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia following a popular uprising in January, was also sentenced to a fine of 78,500 dollars.

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Syrian Forces Kill Two near Capital, Aim to Retake Hama

Syrian security forces killed two anti-regime protesters near Damascus and deployed tanks in a town near Turkey's border, activists said on Monday, as the authorities eyed the recapture of Hama.

More than 20 people were arrested on the outskirts of the flashpoint central city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that angry residents countered by burning tires and hurling stones.

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Russia, NATO Clash over Libya Campaign

Russia and NATO on Monday failed to narrow their differences over the Western air campaign in Libya, as alliance warplanes stepped up their bombing of regime targets.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused NATO of interpreting a U.N. resolution any way it wished, after talks with NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen that showed up differences rather than secure any agreement on a solution.

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British Soldier Missing in Afghanistan Found Dead

A British soldier reported missing in Afghanistan on Monday has been found dead with gunshot wounds, the defence ministry in London said.

The soldier's body was found following an extensive search of the Nahr-e Saraj district in Afghanistan's troubled southern Helmand Province after he was reported missing from an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) checkpoint.

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Mortar Bomb Used as Bell in Ugandan School

Anti-landmine activists in western Uganda were stunned to discover a primary school using an unexploded mortar bomb as a bell, the group's coordinator told Agence France Presse on Monday.

"It was a big shock. When we arrived at the school we even found one of the students striking it," Wilson Bwambale, coordinator of Anti-Mines Network Rwenzori, said.

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Ahmadinejad Hits Out at West over Sudan Partition

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hit out at Western governments on Monday for "tearing apart" Sudan while rejecting the demands of separatists on their own soil, his website said.

"Enemies want to tear apart Sudan," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the southeastern port city of Chabahar ahead of south Sudan's proclamation of independence on Saturday.

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Oil Higher as Greece Avoids Default

Oil rose in Asian trade Monday after Eurozone finance ministers cleared the way for debt-hit Greece to receive 12 billion Euros by mid-July, analysts said.

In afternoon trade, New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for August delivery, rose 12 cents to $95.07 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for August added 18 cents to $111.95.

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Fox News Twitter Account Hacked, Claims Obama Dead

Hackers broke into an official Twitter account operated by Fox News early Monday and posted a series of tweets that claimed President Barack Obama had been assassinated.

The Twitter feed for Fox News' political news -- @FoxNewspolitics -- sent out a series of "malicious and false tweets," starting around 2:00 am, Fox News confirmed in a statement. The posts had not been taken down hours later.

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Radiohead Tests China's Tightly Controlled Web

The outspoken British rock group Radiohead, which has been critical of China's human rights record, appears to be testing the country's censored Internet by opening a Chinese micro blog account.

Tens of thousands of people have begun following a verified account in the name of the Oxford-based band, which was set up on Friday on Sina Weibo, the most popular micro blog site in the country where censors block Twitter.

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Rebel Chief: 'No Possibility for Gadhafi to Remain in Libya'

The head of Libya's rebel council said Monday that there is now no possibility of Moammar Gadhafi being granted internal exile in Libya, following an International Criminal Court warrant for his arrest.

In a statement, Mustafa Mohammed Abdel Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council, said: "There is absolutely no current or future possibility for Gadhafi to remain in Libya."

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