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U.N. Declares Famine in Two Parts of Southern Somalia

The United Nations said Wednesday that famine has hit two parts of rebel-held Somalia, due to a severe drought affecting more than 10 million people in the Horn of Africa.

"The United Nations declared today that famine exists in two regions of southern Somalia: southern Bakool, and Lower Shabelle," a statement by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for Somalia said.

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Tear Gas Fired in Australian Immigration Riots

Australian police Wednesday said they fired tear gas, sound and flash weapons and "bean bag" bullets to quell overnight riots at the Christmas Island immigration detention centre.

Immigration authorities said about 50 detainees were involved in the disturbance, which saw fires lit and police threatened with makeshift weapons at the centre, some 2,600 kilometers from Australia's mainland.

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S. Korea Says North’s Strong Control on People can Avert Uprising

North Korea is grappling with an unfavorable situation but the regime's tight grip on its people will prevent any Arab-style uprising, South Korea's defense minister said Wednesday.

"The state of affairs in the North is indeed inauspicious and anything can happen there," Kim Kwan-Jin told a forum, without elaborating.

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AP Photographer Wins South Korean Photo Contest

Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti has won a photo contest hosted by South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

Yonhap said Tuesday that Morenatti's photos of cholera victims in Haiti last year earned him a $30,000 prize.

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March 14 Mulling Not to Respond to Suleiman’s Invitation for Dialogue

The March 14-backed opposition is mulling to reject President Michel Suleiman’s invitation for national dialogue over claims that Hizbullah’s arms are no longer acceptable.

An Nahar daily quoted March 14 decision-makers as saying that the opposition might not respond to Suleiman’s request given that it has already launched a campaign against Hizbullah’s weapons and the discussion of the issue during all-party talks is useless.

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U.N. Court Orders Thai and Cambodian Troop Withdrawal

The U.N.'s highest court Monday ordered Thailand and Cambodia to immediately withdraw their troops from a disputed area around an ancient temple on the border between the two Asian neighbors.

"Both parties should immediately withdraw their military personnel currently present in the provisional demilitarized zone and refrain from any military presence within that zone," said the order, read by International Court of Justice president Judge Hisashi Owada at a sitting in The Hague.

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Ex-FM Says Libya Behind 1989 Airline Attack

Libya is responsible for a deadly 1989 attack on a French airliner, Libyan former foreign minister Abdel Rahman Shalgam told the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat newspaper in an interview published on Monday.

"The Libyan security services blew up the plane. They believed that opposition leader Mohammed al-Megrief was on board, but after the plane was blown up, it was found that he was not on the plane," said Shalgam, who defected from Moammar Gadhafi's embattled regime earlier this year.

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WTO: Aid for Trade Funding Holds Steady in 2010

Donor aid to fund trade appeared to hold up in 2010 despite weak global economic growth and increasing concerns over state debt, the World Trade Organization said on Monday.

But with pressure expected to grow in coming months over the high debt of major donor countries such as the United States, emerging economies may have to take a bigger role in financing aid for trade, the WTO said.

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Petraeus Steps Down in Afghanistan

General David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan and most celebrated military leader of his generation, stepped down on Monday after a checkered year at the helm of what is America's longest war.

At a ceremony in Kabul Petraeus passed the baton to John Allen, a former subordinate who made his name in Iraq by striking tribal alliances considered integral in reversing al-Qaida's momentum after years of appalling violence.

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UNICEF Warns Horn of Africa Drought to ‘Worsen’

The plight of millions of people left hungry by a harsh drought across the Horn of Africa is set to worsen, with the rains not expected soon and harvests months away, a top U.N. official warned Saturday.

Scanty or failed rainfall in the region over the past two years has already forced thousands of Somalis to flee their country and ruined the livelihoods of millions in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

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