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U.N. Rights Expert Hails 'Power' of Internet

A U.N. human rights expert has marked World Press Freedom Day by hailing the epoch-making power of the Internet and the role online social networking has played in uprisings in the Middle East.

"As one activist tweeted during the protests in Egypt, 'we use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world'," said Frank La Rue, U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression.

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Italy statuette shows Obama holding Bin Laden's head

Traditional artisans in southern Italy have put a clay statuette showing U.S. President Barack Obama holding Osama bin Laden's head on sale in an unusual reaction to the Al-Qaeda chief's killing.

The statuette was fashioned by artisans who usually make religious figures for the elaborate Christmas Nativity scenes typical of the city of Naples and who have branched out in recent years into pursuing more contemporary themes.

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Bin Laden Tweeter Becomes Internet Sensation

An IT consultant who hoped for a quiet life in a summer resort town in Pakistan has become an Internet sensation as the first to report the attack on the world's most wanted man.

Sohaib Athar was just another witty voice on micro-blogging site Twitter until he heard the sound of helicopters near his home in a Abbottabad, 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Islamabad early Monday.

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One Dead as Tornado Hits New Zealand

A freak tornado hit New Zealand's largest city Auckland on Tuesday, killing one person and injuring dozens more as it ripped the roof off a suburban shopping mall, Agence France Presse reported.

Packing winds of 200 kilometers an hour (125 miles an hour), the twister hit the suburb of Albany without warning at about 3pm (0300 GMT), flipping cars and uprooting trees as it carved a trail of destruction stretching for kilometers.

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Tehran-Cairo Mend Ties

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has discussed "bilateral ties" and the Palestinian issue with his Egyptian counterpart, Iran's English-language Press TV reported on Tuesday.

Salehi and Nabil al-Arabi discussed "latest developments in bilateral ties" during a telephone conversation on Monday night, in the first direct contact following a thaw in Tehran-Cairo relations, the channel said on its website.

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Opposition Says Bahrain Authorities Arrested 2 Shiite ex-MPs

Bahraini authorities have arrested two former MPs from the al-Wefaq Shiite main opposition group, in a continued crackdown on the kingdom's Shiite majority, a member of the organization told Agence France Presse on Tuesday.

Matar Matar and Jawad Fayruz were taken from their homes on Monday evening, former MP Hadi al-Mousawi told AFP.

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NATO Airstrikes Kill 10 Afghan Guards

Up to 10 Afghan guards were killed Tuesday in a NATO air strike along a highway in southern Afghanistan, police said, in the latest friendly fire incident involving the alliance's forces.

The armed guards were escorting a supply convoy to NATO bases in southern Afghanistan when they were hit in the province of Ghazni, Mohammad Hussain Yaqoubi, the deputy provincial police chief told Agence France Presse.

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Bin Laden's Death Lifts Dollar

The dollar strengthened against the euro in Asian trade Tuesday as markets reveled in the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, analysts said.

One euro bought $1.4818 in afternoon Asian trade compared to $1.4824 in New York on Monday, Agence France Presse reported.

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U.S. Closes Embassy, Consulates in Pakistan

The United States closed its embassy and three consulates in Pakistan on Tuesday, a day after Osama bin Laden was killed near the capital Islamabad, Agence France Presse.

"The U.S. embassy in Islamabad and the consulates in Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi are closed for routine business to the general public until further notice," the embassy said.

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Hamas Condemns bin Laden Killing

Ismail Haniya, the head of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, on Monday condemned the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid in Pakistan.

"We condemn any killing of a holy warrior or of a Muslim and Arab person and we ask God to bestow his mercy upon him," Haniya said during a meeting with journalists in Gaza.

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