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U.S. Embassy Says Hama Crackdown 'Full-on Warfare', West Slams Assault

As reports of a brutal military crackdown on the flashpoint protest city of Hama unfurled on Sunday, Britain, Germany, France and Italy condemned the violence while a U.S. diplomat said it was "full-on warfare."

Syrian forces killed nearly 140 people on Sunday including 100 when the army stormed Hama to crush dissent on the eve of Ramadan, activists said.

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ECB Chief to Face Questions on Greek Bail-Out

European Central Bank head Jean-Claude Trichet has a chance this week to weigh in at length on the latest Greek rescue.

Trichet is sure to face questions on the landmark second bailout of Greece in the press conference that will follow the ECB policy-setting meeting that should see interest rates stay on hold.

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Italy's Prodi Accuses Germany of 'Egoism' over Bond Sales

Italy's former prime minister Romano Prodi on Saturday accused Germany of "egoism" over a massive sale of Italian bonds by Deutsche Bank and said Italy was in a far stronger economic position than Spain.

The former European Commission president also said that the high rates at which Italy is being forced to issue bonds because of market jitters meant that sweeping budget cuts approved earlier this month would be "in vain".

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Bonnet Hairdryer Saves German Grandmother

A bonnet dryer saved a German grandmother from serious injury or worse when the ceiling of the salon where she was having her hair done collapsed, the Bild daily reported Friday.

"At first I didn't realise what was happening. You can't hear a thing under the bonnet," said Karin Koellner, 72, from Gladbeck in western Germany. "Then bits of the ceiling broke off. But the dryer worked like a protective helmet."

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Germany in Talks with Syrian Opposition, Regime

German diplomats have met with Syrian opposition figures in Damascus and Berlin in recent weeks as the EU demands an end to a crackdown on protesters, a foreign ministry spokesman said Monday.

The spokesman, Martin Schaefer, said that Berlin's coordinator for Middle East policy, Boris Ruge, had held talks with opposition members as well as Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on two occasions.

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Vettel on Top in Final Practice at German GP

Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany topped the times in Saturday morning's final free practice for Sunday's German Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver, who is also the runaway leader in this year's title race, clocked a best time of one minute and 30.916 seconds in the final seconds of a closely-contested session run in cold conditions.

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Survey: Muslims, non-Muslims Still Dislike Each Other

Attitudes toward Muslims have become slightly more positive in the U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Russia compared with five years ago, although negative views between Muslim countries and the West persist on both sides, a Pew Center survey found.

The survey, by Pew's Global Attitudes Project, found majorities of Muslims surveyed in five of six Muslim-dominant countries and the Palestinian territories described non-Muslim Westerners as selfish and greedy.

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EU Bank Stress Tests Spotlight Eurozone Debt Crisis

The European Union publishes on Friday the results of major stress tests on Europe's troubled banking sector, facing pressures from the Eurozone debt crisis now affecting Italy and Spain.

The European Banking Authority, the EU's London-based regulator for the financial sector, has carried out assessments on 91 banks representing 65 percent of the sector and will publish its findings at 1600 GMT.

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German Grannies Take up New Calling as 'Mary Poppins'

In Germany the idea of a teenager spending a few months abroad looking after someone else's children while she studies or travels has given rise to a new concept -- the granny "au pair".

Newspapers now explicitly solicit applications from older women rather than students with ads such as: "Family living in Australia with two children aged 4 and 2 seeks German replacement granny for three to six months".

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Back to Square One on Eurozone Debt Crisis

After a glimmer of hope in the Greek debt crisis, is it back to the drawing board for Eurozone leaders as they struggle to protect the single currency and its 17-nation economy?

"That's for sure ... that's why the ECB has probably always had the position that having talks about private sector involvement was not a particularly brilliant idea," UniCredit chief Eurozone economist Maro Valli told Agence France Presse.

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