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U.N. Atomic Agency Says Syria Ready to Meet Inspectors

The U.N. atomic agency said Monday Syria is ready to meet inspectors in Damascus next month to discuss a desert site bombed by Israel in 2007 and thought to have been a secret nuclear facility.

Syria in a letter "stated its readiness to have a meeting with agency safeguards staff in Damascus in October," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Yukiya Amano told a regular meeting of its board in Vienna.

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Saleh Authorizes Power Transfer Talks

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has authorized his deputy to negotiate a power transfer with the opposition, finally agreeing to a proposal by Gulf countries to put an end to a months-long political crisis, the state news agency SABA said Monday.

It said that Saleh, who has been absent from the country for more than three months, "has given the vice president Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi the necessary constitutional authority to negotiate" the power transfer mechanism with the opposition, SABA said.

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Gadhafi Forces Attack Oil Refinery, Blast at Airport Arms Depot

Moammar Gadhafi’s forces put up unexpectedly fierce resistance Monday, launching a deadly raid on an oil refinery far behind the front lines even as the ousted despot's son Saadi fled to Niger.

Southeast of Tripoli, civilians poured out of the desert town of Bani Walid after intense fighting on Sunday between Gadhafi loyalists holed up in the sprawling oasis and encircling new regime troops, an Agence France Presse correspondent reported.

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Five Dead as Kurdish Rebels Attack Turkish Police

Five people, including three civilians were killed, after Kurdish rebels attacked local police buildings in southeastern Turkey, security sources said on Monday.

Two of the dead were a soldier and a policeman, said the sources, adding that 10 soldiers and policemen were also wounded during the raids in the Semdinli district of Hakkari, in southeastern Anatolia, on Sunday night.

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Shaaban Says 1,400 Killed in Syria Violence

Some 1,400 people, including 700 army and security officials, have been killed in the violence in Syria, a top aide to President Bashar Assad said Monday.

"There are 700 casualties among the army and the police, and 700 among the rebels," Assad's media adviser Bouthaina Shaaban said on a visit to Moscow, dismissing a toll of 2,600 people reported earlier by the U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay.

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U.N.: Syria Unrest Death Toll Reaches 2,600

At least 2,600 people have been killed in the unrest in Syria since popular protests first broke out in mid-March, the U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said

"With regard to Syria, let me note that, according to reliable sources on the ground, the number of those killed since the onset of the unrest in mid-March 2011 in that country, has now reached at least 2,600," Pillay told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

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Israel's Leaderless Labor Party Votes for New Chief

A former defense minister, a one-time TV journalist, an ex-mayor and a scion of one of Israel's top political families faced off on Monday in a fight for the leadership of the Labor party.

The once-mighty party, now reduced to eight seats in the 120-member parliament, has been without a chairman since Defense Minister Ehud Barak jumped ship in January to form the centrist "Independence" movement.

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Yemen Intelligence Officer Gunned Down in Aden

Gunmen killed a senior Yemeni intelligence officer in the main southern city of Aden, the latest in a spate of assassinations to hit the south, a security official said on Monday.

Lieutenant Colonel Ali Ahmed Abd Rabbo was driving along the main coast road on Sunday evening when protesters blocked his way, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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Iran Forces Kill 3 Members of Outlawed Kurdish Group

Iranian intelligence forces have killed three members of an outlawed leftist Kurdish group, one of whom was responsible for killing three policemen, state television reported on Monday.

"Three members of Komalah terrorist group were killed during a fight with our intelligence forces two nights ago," the television's website quoted Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi as saying after a cabinet meeting late on Sunday.

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GCC: Syria Must Stop 'Killing Machine'

The Gulf Cooperation Council on Sunday urged Syria to immediately stop its "killing machine" against anti-regime protesters, and reiterated its demand for serious reforms.

Ending a meeting in Jeddah, the six GCC foreign ministers issued a statement calling for "an immediate end to the killing machine" in Syria.

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