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Jordan's King Expresses Pessimism over Mideast Peace

Jordan's King Abdullah II expressed pessimism about the prospects of Middle East peace in an interview published Thursday, speaking openly about a "one-state solution" to the conflict.

"2011 will be, I think, a very bad year for peace," Abdullah told The Washington Post in an interview at his palace in the Jordanian capital.

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Ash Cloud Forces U.N. Chief to Spend Birthday on Bus

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was forced to rough it on an overnight bus to meet Argentine leaders on Monday because of Chile's volcanic ash cloud. Worse still -- it was his birthday.

Ban became the highest-profile person to fall victim as the eruption of Chile's Puyehue volcano, high in the Andes, entered a second week, spewing ash that has disrupted air travel from South America to Australia.

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Israel Wants 30 'No' Votes against Recognizing Palestinian State

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to convince at least 30 countries to vote against recognizing a Palestinian state should the United Nations debate the issue in September, media reports said.

"Before we reach September, we have to push through an initiative to secure 30 countries and more who will say 'no' to the unilateral recognition in the U.N. General Assembly," the Israeli premier was quoted as saying by news website Ynet.

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U.N. Says Curb Soot and Smog to Keep Earth Cool

Sharply reducing emissions of soot and smog could play a critical role in preventing Earth from overheating, according to a U.N. report released on Tuesday.

Curbing these pollutants could also boost global food output and save millions of lives lost to heart and lung disease, said the report from the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

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U.N. Expects Cabinet to be Fully Committed to 1701, Other International Obligations

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon welcomed the formation of the new Lebanese cabinet expressing hope that it will be able to address the economic, political and security challenges facing the country.

“The Secretary-General believes that the formation today of a new cabinet in Lebanon, following months of consultations … is an important step toward establishing a functional, executive government in Lebanon,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson on Monday.

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U.S. Intercepted N. Korea Ship over Arms Fears

The U.S. Navy intercepted a North Korean ship suspected of carrying missiles or other weapons to Myanmar and made it turn back, a senior U.S. official said Monday.

The comments by Gary Samore, special assistant to President Barack Obama on weapons of mass destruction, confirmed reports of the incident, which happened last month, in The New York Times and South Korean media.

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Say Goodbye to Cool Summers!

By 2050, the coolest summers in the tropics and parts of the northern hemisphere will still be hotter than the most scorching summers since the mid-20th century if global warming continues apace, according to a new study.

Tropical regions in Africa, Asia and South America could see "the permanent emergence of unprecedented summer heat" even within the next decades, said the study, to be published later this month in the journal Climatic Change Letters.

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Cambodia Slams Thai 'Spy' Arrests

Cambodia has accused Thailand of "deceitful fabrication" after Thai police arrested three men on suspicion of spying near the neighbors’ disputed border.

"The Royal Government of Cambodia wishes to assert that the above fabrication is only a pretext to justify future aggression against Cambodia," said a foreign ministry statement released on Friday.

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Blasts Kill 20 in Afghan Flashpoints

A series of bombs and explosions killed 20 people in Afghanistan's southern and eastern flashpoints on Saturday, among them at least eight children and four women, government officials said.

In the deadliest attack, a vehicle hit a mine in Arghandab district of the southern province of Kandahar, one of the main battlegrounds in the nearly 10-year Taliban-led insurgency against the Kabul government and NATO troops.

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U.N. Human Rights Chief Urges Syria to Halt Assault on People

The U.N. human rights chief on Thursday urged Syria to halt an assault on its people, saying that it was "deplorable for any government to attempt to bludgeon its population into submission."

"We are receiving an increasing number of alarming reports pointing to the Syrian government's continuing efforts to ruthlessly crush civilian protests," said Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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