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Call for Saturday Protests in Israel

Israel's social protest movement on Wednesday called for demonstrations to be held across the Jewish state on Saturday except in Tel Aviv which saw mass rallies last week.

"We decided not to stage demonstrations in Tel Aviv but to call for rallies across the country," protest leader Stav Shafir told Agence France Presse.

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U.S. Launches Anti-Gadhafi Offensive in Africa

The United States has launched a diplomatic offensive against Libya among African nations as Tripoli accused NATO of a "massacre" of 85 villagers in air strikes in support of rebels.

American diplomats are visiting several African countries as part of efforts to urge leaders to press Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi to leave power immediately, officials in Washington said on Tuesday.

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China's First Aircraft Carrier Begins Sea Trials

China's first aircraft carrier swept through fog-shrouded waters Wednesday to open sea trials that underscore concerns about the country's growing military strength and its increasingly assertive claims over disputed territory.

The mission by the refurbished former Soviet carrier marks a first step in readying the craft for full deployment. China says the ship is intended for research and training, pointing to longer-term plans to build up to three additional clones of the carrier in China's own shipyards.

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Afghan Commander Accuses Foreign Troops of Killing Local Police

An Afghan police commander on Wednesday accused international troops of killing two policemen by accident in one of the most potent Taliban strongholds in the south.

Kandahar provincial police chief Abdul Raziq said the victims were members of the Afghan Local Police (ALP), an anti-Taliban initiative in which local people are recruited to protect their own villages.

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Sarkozy Breaks off Holiday for Emergency Debt Crisis Meeting

President Nicolas Sarkozy interrupted his vacation on the French Riviera Wednesday to hold an emergency government meeting on the debt crisis rattling global markets.

Sarkozy, who was at the seaside home of his pregnant pop star wife Carla Bruni, and other European leaders had come under fire for staying on their summer holidays as turmoil engulfed the financial markets.

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S. Korea Fires Shots after Shell Lands near Volatile Border

South Korea fired warning shots Wednesday after a North Korean artillery shell landed near the flashpoint Yellow Sea border, Seoul's defense ministry said.

The incident highlights the tensions along the disputed borderline, which has been the scene of bloody naval skirmishes in recent years.

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U.S. Drone Strike Kills 21 in Pakistan

A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan on Wednesday killed up to 21 Afghan fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network, considered the top U.S. foe in eastern Afghanistan, authorities said.

Pakistani officials said a U.S. drone fired two missiles, destroying a vehicle and a compound in North Waziristan, the headquarters of the Haqqani leadership and the most infamous militant bastion in the semi-autonomous tribal belt.

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Kuwaiti Protestors Demand Expulsion of Syrian Ambassador

More than 2,000 Kuwaitis have rallied outside the Syrian embassy in the Gulf state demanding the expulsion of the Syrian envoy and the "freezing" of relations with Damascus.

Holding Syrian flags, the demonstrators chanted "the people want to expel the ambassador," amid a heavy police presence that prevented some protesters from approaching the embassy building.

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Syrian Army Raids Idlib as Outrage Mounts

Syrian troops launched a vast operation on Wednesday in Idlib province bordering Turkey and killed at least one person, activists said, amid growing outrage over the regime's crackdown on dissent.

A defiant President Bashar al-Assad pledged to pursue a relentless battle against "terrorist groups," seemingly oblivious to the mounting international pressure to stop the use of deadly force against pro-democracy protesters.

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Egypt FM: Syria Heading to Point of No Return

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr on Tuesday said he feared that revolt-hit Syria was "heading to the point of no return" and called for an immediate end to violence, the official news agency MENA reported.

"Egypt is following with extreme concern the dangerous deterioration of the situation in Syria," Amr said, expressing "his concern that the situation in Syria is heading to the point of no return," MENA reported.

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