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Morocco 'Kiss' Teens Acquitted with Reprimand

A Moroccan court Friday acquitted three teenagers accused of public indecency after pictures of two of them kissing were posted on Facebook, but reprimanded the couple, their lawyer told Agence France Presse.

The teens had risked possible prison sentences of five years under the kingdom's penal code, in a case that drew strong criticism from international rights groups and sparked a storm of online protest in socially conservative Morocco.

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Jordan Elected to U.N. Security Council

Jordan was Friday elected to a two-year term on the U.N. Security Council, taking the seat that Saudi Arabia won and then rejected in a protest over Syria's civil war.

Jordan, which will take up the seat on January 1, won 178 votes from among the 193 members of the U.N. General Assembly and was the only candidate put forward for the vacant post.

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Egypt Detains Coptic Christian Reporter

An Egyptian prosecutor on Friday ordered the detention for two weeks of a Coptic Christian activist and journalist arrested on suspicion of inciting religious strife, state media reported.

Bishoy Armia, a convert to Christianity, made headlines in 2008 when he lobbied to have his religion changed from Islam on his national identification card.

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Palestinians Draw on Mandela Legacy for Inspiration

Palestinian leaders on Friday drew on the legacy of Nelson Mandela, a high-profile supporter of their cause, likening his fight against apartheid to their own struggle to end Israeli occupation.

Tributes to the late South African leader, whose death was announced Thursday, flooded in from Palestinian leaders.

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Germany Reduces Yemen-Based Staff after Deadly Attack

Germany said Friday it was temporarily reducing its embassy staff in Yemen and told its aid workers to leave after an attack claimed by al-Qaida killed 52 people, including two Germans.

All German employees of government-funded aid and development organizations must leave Yemen "as quickly as possible", a foreign ministry spokesman told reporters.

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Philippine Kidnap Ordeal Going into My Book, Says Al-Arabiya's Bakr Atyani

A Jordanian TV reporter who was held for 18 months by Islamic militants in the Philippines said on Friday his ordeal would be added to a book he is writing on global 'hotspots'.

Al-Arabiya reporter Bakr Atyani, who walked free from the hands of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group on Wednesday, also said he hoped to return to the Philippines despite his harrowing experience.

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Journalist Gunned Down in Iraqi Kurdistan

Gunmen shot dead a magazine editor investigating corruption in the autonomous Kurdistan region, the latest in a series of attacks on journalists in Iraq, media rights groups and police said Friday.

Kawa Ahmed Germyani, the editor-in-chief of Rayal magazine and a correspondent for Awene newspaper, was gunned down on Thursday night, said Rahman Ghareeb, an official from Kurdish media rights watchdog Metro Center.

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Egypt Police Disperse Islamist Protests

Egyptian police arrested dozens of Islamist protesters on Friday when they dispersed rallies across the country, the interior ministry said.

Riot police fired tear gas at separate protests in Cairo and clashed with Islamists in other provinces, amid a campaign to stamp out unrest following president Mohammed Morsi's overthrow in July.

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British FM Says Assad Must Go for Settlement in Syria

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Friday that Syrian President Bashar Assad must stand down to allow for any peaceful settlement to the 33-month-old conflict in his country.

"We have always been very clear that a peaceful solution in Syria must require the departure of President Assad," Hague told a press conference in Kuwait's capital after talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah.

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Suicide Bomber Kills Five Outside Syria Militia HQ

A suicide bomber blew up a vehicle outside a pro-government militia headquarters in northeastern Syria, killing at least five people on Friday, a monitoring group said.

Another 10 people were wounded in the bombing outside the the National Defense Forces base in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli on the Turkish border, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France Presse.

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