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Turkey Intercepts Ship with Suspected Arms Headed For Syria

Turkey has intercepted a Bermuda-flagged vessel suspected of carrying weapons and ammunition to Syria in the Mediterranean, a diplomatic source told Agence France Presse on Wednesday.

"We received information that the vessel has a cargo of arms and ammunition headed for Syria," the source said on condition of anonymity, adding that Turkish authorities would search the vessel later in the day.

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Israel Expels 9 French Activists after Airport 'Trouble'

Nine French activists who arrived in Israel overnight and "caused trouble" at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, have been expelled, an interior ministry official said on Wednesday.

"These nine pro-Palestinian activists caused trouble and some violence on board the plane they were travelling on from Athens and at the terminal," spokeswoman Sabine Haddad told Agence France Presse.

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ICC Prosecutor in Libya amid Seif al-Islam Trial Debate

International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo arrived in Tripoli on Wednesday in a surprise visit, an Agence France Presse photographer said.

The fate of slain dictator Moammar Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, who is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity, is expected to top the agenda after Libyan officials repeatedly expressed their desire to try him locally.

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Tunisians Kidnapped by Armed Libyan Group Released

Some 100 Tunisian workers kidnapped by armed men in western Libya have been released, Tunisia said Wednesday after a diplomatic row in which Tripoli denied any abductions had occurred.

"The Tunisians kidnapped in Libya have been freed," Tunisia's interior ministry said in a statement.

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Iran Thanks Saudis for Sparing Citizens on Death Row

Iran -- a country slammed by international rights groups for its state executions -- on Wednesday welcomed Saudi Arabia suspending death sentences against several of its nationals convicted for drug trafficking.

Iran's protests over the matter led to intervention from Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, media reported, quoting Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.

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Lavrov Accuses Syria Rebels of Trying to Stir Violence

Russia on Wednesday accused the armed opposition in Syria of trying to provoke violence that could involve foreign powers and said it saw nothing standing in the way of dialogue.

"There are plenty of those who would like to see (Kofi) Annan's plan fail in hopes of then demanding other options -- primarily meaning the use of (outside) force," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

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Ambassadors Wives, Film Stars Launch Syria Protests

Thousands have backed a video appeal to Syria's first lady to speak out against violence, made by the wives of the British and German ambassadors to the United Nations.

In the video, Sheila Lyall Grant and Huberta von Voss-Wittig implore Asma al-Assad "to stand up for peace" and speak out against the deadly crackdown instigated by her husband President Bashar al-Assad.

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Syria Troops Shell Homs, Death Toll Mounts

Syrian regime forces shelled rebel neighborhoods of the flashpoint central city of Homs on Wednesday, as a tenuous truce struggled to take effect despite the arrival of U.N. military observers.

Sniper fire killed six civilians in Homs on Tuesday, among at least 20 dead nationwide, monitors said, as the head of the U.N. advance team acknowledged the mission faced a "difficult" task shoring up the ceasefire that went into force at dawn last Thursday.

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China: Syria Pledges to Respect Annan's Full Peace Plan

China said Wednesday Syria's foreign minister had pledged to respect U.N. envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan and cooperate with a U.N. team sent to monitor a fragile ceasefire in the restive state.

"Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem... said Syria would continue to... respect and implement Annan's 'six-point proposal'," China's foreign ministry quoted Muallem as telling his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing.

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Clinton Expected at Paris Talks on Syria

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to attend talks in Paris on Thursday as part of international efforts to end the violence in Syria, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

"We're now expecting this meeting will happen and she will be there," a senior State Department official told reporters traveling with Clinton from Brasilia to Brussels.

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