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Algeria Premier Fears Scattering of Votes in May Election

Algeria's Prime Minister, fearing a wide scattering of votes in the May 10 general elections in which 44 parties are running, Wednesday urged voters to support the main ruling coalition partners.

Ahmed Ouyahia, who heads the National Rally for Democracy (RND), belonging to a three party political alliance loyal to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, called for "useful" votes.

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5.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes West Algeria

A 5.0-magnitude earthquake struck western Algeria's Chlef region on Wednesday, but did not cause any injuries or infrastructure damage, the Centre of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Geophysics Research said.

Tremors were felt up to 200 kilometers away in the capital Algiers, as well as in the neighboring region of Ain Defla.

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Abdel Jalil: Algeria Won't Host Those Who Threaten Libya

Libyan leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil expressed confidence Monday that Algeria would not shelter anyone who poses a threat to his country, in a reference to Moammar Gadhafi’s family members who were granted asylum by Algiers.

"We appreciate the humanitarian position of Algeria for hosting the families, including women and children, but we are convinced that it would not shelter those who represent a threat for Libya's security," said Abdel Jalil after meeting Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

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Libyan Leader Begins State Visit to Algeria

Libyan leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the council that overthrew Moammar Gadhafi, arrived in Algeria Sunday for a state visit that comes amid a period of strained relations.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and an entourage of senior government officials and foreign diplomats met Abdeljalil at the airport when he arrived around 4:00 pm (1500 GMT), an Agence France Presse photographer said.

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Sarkozy: France Was Wrong to Abandon Former Algerian Allies

President Nicolas Sarkozy formally admitted Saturday that France failed in its duty towards the Algerian loyalists who fought on Paris' side in their country's war of independence.

Around 60,000 pro-French Algerians, known as "harkis", came to France after the war, but approximately as many again were abandoned to face bloody reprisals in Algeria at the hands of their pro-independence countrymen.

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Report: Algeria Rules Out Mali Split, Foreign Intervention

Algeria is opposed to Mali's break-up and wants dialogue to resolve the crisis with its southern neighbor, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia was quoting as saying Friday, warning against foreign intervention.

Algeria "will never accept questioning Mali's territorial integrity," Ouyahia told France's Le Monde newspaper on Thursday, before a Tuareg rebel group had declared the independence of their desert homeland they call Azawad.

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Algeria Confirms Abduction of Seven Diplomats in Mali

Armed Islamists seized the Algerian consulate in Gao in northeastern Mali on Thursday and abducted seven diplomats, Algeria's foreign ministry and witnesses said.

"The consul and six members of the Algerian consular mission have been taken to an unknown destination," the foreign ministry said in a statement published by the APS news agency.

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French Islamist Gunman's Body to Go to Algeria

The body of an Islamist gunman branded a "monster" who boasted of killing seven people in southern France is due to arrive in Algeria on Thursday, a family member told AFP on Wednesday.

Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent, was killed by police March 22 after a lengthy stand-off at his Toulouse apartment.

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Russian Envoy in Algiers for Consultations on Syria Crisis

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's Middle East envoy was in Algiers on Sunday for consultations on the deadly year-old crisis in Syria, a Russian diplomat said.

Mikhail Bogdanov, who arrived in the Algerian capital on Saturday, was holding talks with Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci, the APS news agency reported.

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19 Dead as Bus Plunges into Ravine in Northwest Algeria

Nineteen people were killed in northwestern Algeria early Sunday when the bus they were riding plunged into a ravine, officials said.

Another 30 people were injured in the accident, which occurred near the city of Tiaret at around 2:00 am, public safety spokesman Farouk Achour said.

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