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Chavez Turns 57 Vowing to Stay in Power until 2031

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavezsang, danced and said he intends to stay in power for two more decades as he celebrated his 57th birthday looking ahead to months of cancer treatment.

Chavez rallied a crowd of cheering supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace on Thursday, waving a large Venezuelan flag and briefly wrapping himself in it. He said he expects to lose his hair soon as a result of chemotherapy and that a long process of treatment lies ahead.

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Roadside Bomb Kills 18 in Southern Afghanistan

A minibus ran over a roadside bomb Friday in southern Afghanistan, killing all 18 passengers, police said.

"The mine was very powerful and destroyed the vehicle," said Kamaluddin Sherzai, deputy police chief in the southern Helmand province. "They were all civilians. Some were children."

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Syria Accuses ‘Saboteurs’ of Blowing up Oil Pipeline

A bomb blast struck an oil pipeline in western Syria on Friday in what Syrian state television described as a "terrorist" attack, saying that a group of "saboteurs" was behind the explosion.

The TV said the bombing targeted the pipeline in the western town of Talkalakh between the cities of Homs and Tartous, near the Tal Hosh dam. The explosion left a 33 feet (10 meter) deep crater, the TV said.

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17 Killed in 2 Mine Accidents in Ukraine

A blast at one coal mine in eastern Ukraine and an elevator collapse at another killed at least 17 people and injured 11 on Friday, officials said. Nine miners are still missing following the blast.

The twin accidents in eastern mining regions shocked the country and highlighted the persistent dangers of the local mining industry, believed to be one of the world's most dangerous because of outdated equipment and widespread disregard for safety regulations.

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Lebanon Advances despite Loss to Bangladesh

Lebanon advanced to the third round of World Cup qualifying with a 4-2 aggregate win over Bangladesh, despite losing the second leg 2-0 on Thursday.

Mithun Chowdhury raised the hopes of the Bangladesh fans at the Bangabandhu National Stadium when he scored in the 52nd minute.

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U.N. Pays Out $1 Billion from Iraqi Oil Fund

A U.N. panel has approved more than $1 billion in compensation payments for victims of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The U.N. Compensation Commission says the money will go to five companies and four government or international bodies. It did not disclose the identities of the claimants Thursday but said all are in Kuwait.

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Javier Hernandez Hospitalized with Concussion

Manchester United striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez missed Wednesday night's match against the MLS All-Stars after being hospitalized overnight for a concussion sustained during a training session a day earlier.

The dynamic Mexican goal scorer wasn't missed as Man United beat the MLS All-Star team 4-0.

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Amy Winehouse Left Trove of Unreleased Music

People close to Amy Winehouse say she left a trove of unreleased music, but no decision has been made about whether it will be released.

Spokesman Chris Goodman says there is "plenty" of material, but there have been no discussions yet about releasing anything.

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Rural U.S. Disappearing? Population Share Hits low

Rural America now accounts for just 16 percent of the U.S. population, the lowest ever.

The latest 2010 census numbers hint at an emerging America where, by mid-century, city boundaries become indistinct and rural areas grow ever less relevant. Many communities could shrink to virtual ghost towns as they shutter businesses and close down schools, demographers say.

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Tourists Turned Away as Machu Picchu Limit Reached

Hundreds of unticketed tourists have been turned away from Machu Picchu this week as Peru's famed Inca ruins reached capacity.

Angry tourists blocked a bridge for two hours Monday in the town of Aguas Calientes at the entrance to the ruins. That impeded buses that ferry visitors to the hilltop archaeological site.

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