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Freed Vietnam Dissident Heads to U.S.

Vietnam has freed a leading dissident whose case was raised by U.S. President Barack Obama, and he is on his way to the United States, an American official said Tuesday.

Nguyen Van Hai, one of Vietnam's most prominent bloggers, has chosen to move to the United States and was expected to arrive later in the day, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

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Israeli Minister Airs Iran Nuclear Concerns at Pentagon

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Tuesday he shared with his U.S. counterpart his country's concerns about the direction of talks between world powers and Iran on its nuclear program.

In an audio message released by Yaalon's office after his meeting with Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon, Yaalon said they also talked about the conflicts in Iraq and Syria and the U.S.-Israel defense partnership.

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Ex-U.S. Senator Gary Hart to Be Envoy to N.Ireland Peace Talks

Washington on Tuesday named former senator, Gary Hart, whose 1988 presidential bid was scuppered by rumors of an alleged affair, as an envoy to talks on Northern Ireland's political stalemate.

Unveiling Hart's new role as his personal representative to the talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called him "one of our country's most respected and accomplished senior statesmen, creative and strategic thinkers, and my longtime friend."

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More Sightings of 'Foreign Sub' as Sweden Says it Could Use Force

Sweden's armed forces chief warned Tuesday it could use force to bring to the surface a suspected Russian mini-submarine its navy has been hunting for days as two new sightings of the vessel were revealed.

The new "observations" of the supposed "foreign" submarine were made on Monday, rear admiral Anders Grenstad said, after the country's top military commander declared it was ready to use "armed force" to bring the mystery vessel to the surface.

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Russia-Ukraine Gas Talks Falter, New Meeting Next Week

EU-brokered crunch talks to resolve the bitter gas price dispute between Russia and Ukraine failed on Tuesday, as a new meeting was set for next week amid fears Moscow could halt crucial energy supplies to Europe this winter.

European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger however said "significant progress" was made after the talks broke up between the Ukrainian and Russian energy ministers, Yuri Prodan and Alexander Novak.

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Israel Fires 8 Flares over Mt. Hermon after Troops Cross Technical Fence near Wazzani

Israeli forces fired eight flares Tuesday evening from their posts in the occupied Shebaa Farms towards the nearby Mount Hermon, Lebanon's National News Agency reported.

The flares were fired above the al-Marsad post and Mt. Hermon's western heights, NNA said.

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Cleric Calls off Pakistan Parliament Protest

A Canadian-Pakistani cleric whose supporters have camped outside the country's parliament building since August, demanding the government resign, called off his sit-in protest Tuesday to take the demonstrations countrywide.

Tahir-ul-Qadri arrived in Islamabad in mid-August along with cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and thousands of their supporters, with the aim of forcing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down over alleged rigging in last year's election.

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Two Abducted Members of al-Hujeiri Family Freed in Bekaa

Khaled and Walid al-Hujeiri were released on Tuesday evening after they were kidnapped in separate incidents in the Bekaa last week.

Khaled was abducted along with Mustafa al-Hujeiri from the town of Taalbaya while Walid was nabbed along with two other members of the al-Hujeiri family in the Masharii al-Qaa border area near Arsal.

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Canada Fears New Islamist Threat after Soldier Killed

Canada was faced with the specter of Islamist violence on Tuesday after an attack by a suspected jihadist killed a soldier, a day before Ottawa deployed warplanes to bomb Islamic State militants.

The assailant was fatally shot by police on Monday after he ran over two soldiers with his car in a Quebec parking lot -- a scenario which had been depicted only last month in IS propaganda.

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Zimbabwe Rights Chief Says Funding Woes Hamper Operations

Zimbabwe’s human rights agency, created five years ago to curb rights violations, on Tuesday said its operations had been hamstrung by a severe cash crunch.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has received less than 10 percent of its budgetary needs, its chief Elasto Mugwadi said.

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