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France Opposes Rapid Palestinian Bid to Join UNESCO

France said Wednesday that it opposed moves by the Palestinian Authority to seek rapid recognition as a full state member of the United Nations cultural organization UNESCO.

"We don't think UNESCO is the appropriate arena," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said, after Arab members of the world body said they wanted the Palestinians to be promoted from observers to full members.

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Bahrain Jails 19 over Bid to Burn Police Station

A Bahraini special court on Wednesday sentenced 13 Shiites to five years in jail for trying to set ablaze a police station during democracy protests, the chief military prosecutor said.

The National Safety Court, set up by the Sunni-ruled kingdom after Shiite-led protests were crushed in March, gave six other demonstrators one-year terms in the same case, Colonel Yusof Fleifel said, quoted by BNA state news agency.

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Erdogan Says Israel a 'Threat' to Region over Atomic Bomb

Israel is a "threat" to its region because it owns nuclear weapons, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.

"I right now see Israel as a threat for its region, because it has the atomic bomb," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency, during an official visit to South Africa.

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Turkey PM Firm on Syria Sanctions Despite U.N. Vote

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government would announce a package of sanctions against neighboring Syria despite a U.N. resolution blocked by Russia and China.

"Unfortunately, the draft prepared in the form of a warning (against Syria) was vetoed during the vote at the U.N. Security Council yesterday," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

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Syrian Woman Thought Decapitated Turns up Alive on TV

Syrian state television has aired an interview with a woman who had reportedly been found decapitated, armless and skinned in a morgue last month, amid a deadly protest crackdown.

Zaynab al-Hosni became a symbol of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad after international human rights watchdogs said late September that her mother had found her mutilated body in a morgue.

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Saudi Shiite Cleric Urges Protesters to Avoid Violence

A prominent Saudi Shiite cleric has urged protesters to use "words" rather than "bullets" in their fight for equality in the Sunni-ruled kingdom after violent clashes in a Shiite village.

In a sermon to worshippers at a mosque in the village of al-Awamiya late Tuesday, Sheikh Nimr Nimr said Shiites must "not respond to bullets with bullets," according to the text of the sermon published online.

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France Says Chinese, Russian Veto 'Sad Day for Syrians’

The decision by Russia and China to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution targeting Syria marked a "sad day for the Syrian people" and for the council itself, France said Wednesday.

"The Security Council should not remain silent in the face of the Syrian tragedy," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in a statement, after the veto blocked the European call for "targeted measures" against Damascus.

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Kuwait Braces for Showdown over Graft Scandal

OPEC member Kuwait is bracing for a major political showdown over a graft scandal involving MPs as the opposition mounts a fierce campaign to oust the prime minister.

Liberal, nationalist and Islamist opposition groups have united following allegations that pro-government MPs accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes, with fingers pointed at the government as the source of the money.

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China Says U.N. Motion 'Would Not Ease' Syria Situation

China said Wednesday a U.N. Security Council resolution it vetoed threatening action against Syria for its deadly crackdown on protests would have "blindly" pressured the Arab nation and not helped.

The comments came after Russia and China blocked a Security Council motion calling for "targeted measures" if Syria's President Bashar Assad pursues his clampdown, which the U.N. says has left at least 2,700 dead.

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Russia, China Veto U.N. Council Call for Syria Action, Lebanon Abstains

Russia and China on Tuesday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution threatening action against Syria's deadly crackdown on protests, opening up bitter international divisions over the Arab Spring.

Amid new deaths in Syria and new threats of individual sanctions, the veto sparked the outrage of European nations, which proposed the resolution, and the United States, which said the council had "utterly failed to address an urgent moral challenge."

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