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Lebanon Chairs Security Council as Suleiman Heads to New York on Sept. 18

Lebanon took over the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council for this month, the second time since its council membership in January 2010.

Ambassador Nawwaf Salam told An Nahar daily published Friday that he was seeking to introduce “preventive diplomacy” to the agenda of the council. “This concept includes means and diplomatic measures taken in advance to prevent the eruption of conflicts or stop them from spreading.”

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Hamas: U.N. Inquiry Into Israel Flotilla Raid 'Unjust'

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas said Thursday that a U.N.-mandated inquiry into a deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza was "unjust" and lacked balance.

The inquiry into the Turkish-led aid flotilla said Israel's commando raid in 2010 was "excessive," according to extracts published by the New York Times newspaper.

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Syria Attorney General Says Quits, Damascus Denies

The attorney general of the central Syrian province of Hama said he has resigned to protest hundreds of killings and thousands of arrests by President Bashar Assad's regime, after the state agency said the official was kidnapped.

"I, the attorney general of the province of Hama, Mohammed Adnan al-Bakkour, announce my resignation from the regime of Assad and his band," he said in a video posted on YouTube late Wednesday.

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Russia Recognizes Libya's Rebel Government

Russia on Thursday officially recognized Libya's rebels as the governing authority in the country, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The Russian Federation recognizes Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) as the ruling authority and notes its reform program that includes the development of a new constitution, holding general elections and forming the government," it said.

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WHO Says Newborn Death Rates Decrease Worldwide

Global death rates among newborns under one month old are dropping, a study by the World Health Organization showed Tuesday.

"Newborn deaths decreased from 4.6 million in 1990 to 3.3 million in 2009," the U.N. health agency said in a statement.

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Libya Rebels Say have 'Right to Kill' Gadhafi

Libya's rebels said Wednesday Moammar Gadhafi is almost certainly in Libya and that they have a "right to kill" him, while giving the fugitive strongman's remaining troops until Saturday to surrender.

"The information I have is this: it is 80 percent certain that Gadhafi is still in Libya," Omar Hariri, head of military affairs, told Agence France Presse in Tripoli.

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Ban to Visit Australia, New Zealand, Pacific

United Nations leader Ban Ki-moon will visit Australia next month in the first trip to the country by a U.N. Secretary-General in more than a decade, officials said Wednesday.

The visit -- which will also take in New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati and is expected to focus on climate change -- will be the first since then United Nations leader Kofi Annan toured in 2000.

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Home-Made Palestinian 'U.N. Seat' to Tour Europe

A hand-made olive-wood chair, fashioned to look like the blue seats at the United Nations, is set to tour Europe to raise support for a Palestinian bid to join the world body.

The chair was commissioned by a Palestinian NGO which is hoping to rally support for the campaign to secure full U.N. membership for a Palestinian state when the General Assembly meets in New York next month.

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Algerian Foreign Minister Meets Top Libyan Rebel

Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci has held talks with senior Libyan rebel figure Mahmud Jibril on the sidelines of an Arab League meeting in Cairo, an Algerian government spokesman said Monday.

"Mr. Medelci met with Mahmud Jibril on the sidelines of the Arab League meeting in Cairo which has just taken place," foreign ministry spokesman Amar Belani said in a statement, adding that the meeting had been initiated by Jibril who is the number two in the rebels' National Transitional Council.

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Iran Slams as 'Baseless' EU Sanctions on Guards

Iran rejected Monday as "baseless" new EU sanctions targeting the al-Quds wing of the elite Revolutionary Guards which the European Union accuses of aiding the Syrian crackdown on protesters.

"We deny having any role in the internal affairs of that country (Syria)," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said according to a statement received by Agence France Presse.

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