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Top U.N. Official Slams Report Backing Israel on Flotilla

A U.N. rapporteur Thursday slammed a highly anticipated U.N. report said to back a 2010 Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla aiming to break the Gaza blockade which left nine people dead.

"The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Prof. Olivier De Schutter, has received a draft of this report and he firmly opposes its conclusions," De Schutter's office said in an email.

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Saleh Makes 1st Appearance after Bomb Attack

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, his face burned and his hands covered with bandages, appeared on television Thursday for the first time since he was wounded in a bomb attack on his palace in Sanaa.

Saleh, who has been hospitalized in Saudi Arabia since the June 3 attack, was barely recognizable and sat stiffly as he spoke in the pre-recorded statement broadcast on Yemeni television.

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Families Flee Syria's Hama as Ban Says Killings 'Must Stop'

Around 100 families have fled Syria's central city of Hama fearing a military crackdown on massive protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, a rights group said on Thursday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that about 1,000 people in total had left Hama, where it said Syrian troops had killed 23 civilians since Tuesday.

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India's Mumbai Hit by Partying Curbs

Mumbai may be India's entertainment capital and famous for its nightlife, but with revelers increasingly restrained by local rules and regulations, it doesn't always seem that way.

Last weekend, 31 people were each fined 1,200 rupees ($26) for what police said was "indecent" dancing at a nightspot popular with young call-center workers in a northern suburb.

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Doctor Says Berlusconi can Have 'Sex Six Times a Week'

Italy's Latin lover prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is in robust health and "can have sex six times a week," but should take one day off to rest, his doctor said in an interview published Wednesday.

"He's a superior man, both physically and intellectually," Umberto Scapagnini, a member of Berlusconi's People of Freedom party and the premier's personal doctor said in an interview with Novella 2000 magazine.

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Legion of Honor Awaits Liza Minnelli in Paris

Liza Minnelli, in Paris for a one-night concert next Monday at the fabled Olympia music hall, is to be inducted into France's order of the Legion of Honor, the culture ministry said.

The 65-year-old entertainer, who collected an Oscar in 1972 for her performance in "Cabaret", is to be made an officer of the order by Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand at a ceremony a few hours before her show.

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Peru Celebrates 100 Years of Machu Picchu 'Discovery'

Peruvians celebrate this month the centennial of the "discovery" of Machu Picchu, a world tourist attraction and archeological marvel that has yet to reveal all its secrets.

This 15th-century Inca city of carved stone structures, built high on an Andean mountain range in southeastern Peru, was introduced to the world by American explorer Hiram Bingham.

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Copyright Hawks Stop Music at Dakar Fashion Week Parade

The sound may have been muted, but the fashion was not on the opening night of Dakar Fashion Week where models were forced to strut without music as organizers battled the government over copyright fees.

As the parade got underway Wednesday, an extremely fashionable three hours late, at the swanky Ozio restaurant in downtown Plateau, a gruff official with a clipboard ordered the DJ to turn off the music.

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Saab Gets Official Approval to Sell Property for Quick Cash

The Swedish government on Wednesday gave the green light for troubled automaker Saab to sell its real estate and lease it back, handing it the last approval needed to sell its plant and get access to much needed cash.

Saab welcomed the deal and said in a statement it planned to restart its production, which has been repeatedly stalled since April and last stopped on June 8, on August 9.

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Private Creditors Meet in Rome on Greek Debt Crisis

Private creditors and international banks were meeting in Rome on Thursday to discuss the role of the private sector in Greece's second debt bailout, an Italian Treasury source said.

The meeting was being held in order "to exchange points of view on the participation of private creditors," a source within the Treasury told Agence France Presse.

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