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Obama Honors Afghanistan War Dead

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday honored all those killed since U.S. warplanes launched a campaign to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan 10 years ago, and saluted those who have served in the U.S. military.

Obama said in a statement the United States was "responsibly ending" the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq "from a position of strength" and promised to provide veterans with healthcare and job opportunities.

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Top Kurd Killed, U.S. Accuses Syria of Escalation

A top Kurdish activist and nine other people were killed Friday as thousands rallied in support of a new opposition front, activists said, as Washington accused Syria of escalating attacks on dissidents.

The latest violence came as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said President Bashar al-Assad will have to leave power if he fails to implement reforms acceptable to the opposition, and Damascus again blamed "terrorists" for the unrest.

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Autumn Heatwave Attracts Hundreds of Rare Moths to Britain

Record-breaking autumn temperatures attracted hundreds of rare moths to Britain in what experts have called the best migration of the insects in years.

A wide variety of species, usually found in the Mediterranean, flocked to Britain to bask in temperatures of almost 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) and southerly winds.

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Dutch Rail Plan to Introduce "Pee-Bags" on Short-Hop Trains

Dutch National Railways said Friday it planned to introduce so-called "pee-bags" as an emergency alternative to non-existing toilets on its short-hop trains.

"Yes, we are planning to introduce the bags on our short-hop Sprinter trains," NS spokeswoman Nienke Kooistra told Agence France Presse, but stressed "it's to be used in extreme emergencies only, for instance when a train is stranded."

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Euro Leaders Race to Shore up Banks

Europe's leaders scrambled Friday to reassure investors the continent's banks were safe, stepping up calls for fresh cash injections as Paris played down reported differences with Germany over the crisis.

While EU leaders agree on the need for action to shore up over-exposed banks, a division of opinion reportedly emerged between France and Germany on how to proceed, two days before their leaders are due to meet in Berlin.

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London Olympics Chief Calls for Doping Life Ban

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe on Friday called for a zero tolerance policy towards drugs cheats a day after U.S. 400m Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt's ban against competing in next year's Games was overturned.

Merritt won a case in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after challenging the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) controversial rule which states that anyone banned for doping for sixth months or more should miss the next Olympics.

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Berlusconi, Schroeder Expected for Putin Birthday Bash

Russia's leader Vladimir Putin was to mark his 59th birthday Friday in the company of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder as his supporters sang his praises.

His critics used the occasion to attack the man whose rule they said was a ticking time bomb for the country, who could bring about potentially devastating consequences if he did not launch genuine reforms.

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Wozniacki Dumped Out by Pennetta in Beijing

Italian Flavia Pennetta stunned world number one Caroline Wozniacki with a fierce 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7/2) comeback in the quarter-finals of the China Open on Friday.

The Dane looked to be in control before Pennetta began a fightback, winning the second set to nil, and dominating a third set tie-break.

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Robben Undergoes Successful Groin Operation

Dutch winger Arjen Robben has undergone successful surgery to remedy a troublesome groin problem, his club Bayern Munich confirmed on Friday.

Robben had been left "frustrated" after the injury flared up recently ruling him out of the Netherlands' forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers.

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Back Injury Forced Safina Retirement

Former world number one Dinara Safina has retired from professional tennis, her elder brother Marat told media on Friday.

"Dinara (Safina) has decided to end her career," Safin said. "She has taken the decision relatively well. She considers it just to be the end of a period in her life."

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