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Court Opens Case against Catalan Leader for Breakaway Vote

Catalonia's president Artur Mas was placed under investigation on Monday for holding a banned vote on whether his region should be independent from Spain.

The Catalonia High Court said that Mas was under judicial investigation for flouting a injunction against holding the symbolic vote on November 9.

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Israel Charges 8 Palestinians over Facebook Incitement

Eight Palestinians from annexed east Jerusalem were indicted on Monday for inciting anti-Jewish violence and supporting "terror" in postings on Facebook, a justice ministry spokeswoman said.

The eight men, aged 18-45, were charged at Jerusalem Magistrate's Court with "incitement to violence or terror and supporting a terrorist group" on Facebook, a ministry statement read.

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Kataeb Urges Taking Decisive Action in Arsal Captives Negotiations

The Kataeb party demanded on Monday putting an end to the “confusion” stemming from the numerous mediation efforts aimed at releasing the servicemen abducted from the northeastern border town of Arsal in August.

It said in a statement after its weekly politburo meeting: “Decisive action should be taken regarding the negotiations in the file in order to end this confusion.”

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Venezuela Blasts 'Interventionist' EU Resolution

Venezuela has reacted angrily to a European Parliament resolution accusing the Latin American nation of persecuting the opposition, saying Europe is trying to divert attention from its own financial woes.

Lawmakers at the European Parliament in Strasbourg passed a motion last week urging Caracas to withdraw arrest warrants against opposition politicians, and to disarm and dissolve pro-government associations.

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Four Children Dead in Syria School Bus Strike

At least four Syrian school children were killed and 10 wounded on Monday when a regime air strike hit their bus in the northwest of the country, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said most of those wounded and killed when the Syrian air force hit a school bus near the village of Jubass in Idlib province were under the age of 10.

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Uzbekistan Poll 'Lacked Genuine Competition'

Uzbekistan on Monday announced a near 90-percent turnout in its weekend parliamentary election, a poll Western observers said lacked genuine competition.

All the parties in Sunday's polls support President Islam Karimov, who has ruled the central Asian republic since the collapse of communism.

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Bomb Blast at NE Nigeria Bus Station 'Kills at Least 20'

A bombing at a bus station in Gombe city in northeast Nigeria killed at least 20 people on Monday, the latest violence in the region repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram, the Red Cross said.

Nigeria is set to hold a general election on February 14, but relentless bloodshed has raised security concerns ahead of the poll, with some warning that voting may be impossible in large parts of the northeast.

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Italy Foils Neo Fascist Plot, Arrests 14

Italian police arrested 14 neo-fascists and placed 44 others under investigation on Monday after uncovering a plot to assassinate politicians and attack police stations over the Christmas period.

Police swooped after wiretaps revealed the gang, an offshoot of the banned far right organization Ordine Nuovo, had begun stockpiling arms and planned to carry out attacks over the holiday period.

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Afghan Forces Launch Operation in Areas Bordering Pakistan

Afghan security forces have launched an operation against militants in an eastern province seen as a rear base for the Pakistani Taliban which carried out a school massacre last week, officials said Monday.

Pakistan's army chief met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul in the aftermath of the school attack in the Pakistani city of Peshawar which killed 149 people, mainly children.

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Burundi Arrests Brother of Suspected France Islamist Attacker

Authorities in the central African nation of Burundi said Monday they had arrested the brother of a man who was killed in France after a suspected Islamist-motivated attack.

A spokesman for Burundi's National Intelligence Service said Brice Nzohabonayo was detained in the capital Bujumbura shortly after his brother Bertrand Nzohabonayo attacked a police station in the central French town of Joue-les-Tours.

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