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UNAIDS at Vatican Conference: Pope's HIV-condom View Helpful

The head of the U.N. AIDS agency told a Vatican conference on AIDS Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI's comments about the use of condoms in preventing HIV transmission had opened new prospects for dialogue with the U.N.

Dr. Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, said it will help strengthen the fight for greater access to treatment for those afflicted. Sidibe said Benedict's views were important, even if differences remain between the U.N. and Catholic Church.

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Bomb Targets Pro-Government Tribe in Pakistan, 8 Killed

A bomb blast targeting a pro-government tribe on Saturday killed at least 8 people and wounded 11 others at a market in a restive Pakistani tribal area, officials said.

The remote-controlled bomb blast took place at Pasht bazaar in Salarzai region, some 35 kilometers northeast of Khar, the main town of the restive Bajaur tribal district, which borders Afghanistan.

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Egypt Reopens Rafah Border with Gaza for First Time in 4 Years

Egypt on Saturday reopened its Rafah border crossing with Gaza, allowing people to cross freely for the first time in four years, in a move hailed by Hamas but criticized by Israel.

Among the first to cross the reopened border post were two ambulances ferrying patients from the hitherto-blockaded Gaza Strip for treatment in Egypt as well as a minibus carrying a dozen visitors, an Agence France Presse correspondent reported.

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U.S. Detainee for Half Year 'Leaves North Korea'

An American citizen detained in North Korea since November on unspecified charges was Saturday on a plane heading back to the United States with a U.S. delegation, Chinese state media reported.

Official Chinese news agency Xinhua said that a team from the U.S. State Department had flown out of communist North Korea with the detained man.

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Obama: U.S., France United in Resolve to Finish Job in Libya

The United States and France are united in their resolve to finish the job in Libya, U.S. President Barack Obama said after talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy at the G8 summit Friday.

Obama and the French leader said they have a convergence of views of a series of key issues during their talks, which lasted around 45 minutes, just before the wider summit considered the implications of the Arab Spring.

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North Korea Will Release U.S. Detainee Held on Unspecified Charges

North Korea said Friday it has decided to release a U.S. citizen held since November on unspecified charges, following requests from a U.S. official who is assessing possible food aid.

Eddie Jun Yong-Su, a California-based businessman, was detained for apparent missionary activities in the hard line communist state, colleagues say.

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German Beer Law Put Forward as World Heritage

A group of German brewers, politicians and public figures have called for the country's 14th century beer purity law to be included on the U.N.'s list of "intangible" world cultural treasures.

"This almost 500-year-old law is one of the oldest food and drink regulations in the world," the German institute for pure beer (DIRB) said after its annual meeting on Wednesday.

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Spain Receives Libyan Ceasefire Proposal

Spain's government said Thursday it had received a message from Libyan Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi seeking a ceasefire.

Spain said it was standing with other European governments, however, in seeking a set of conditions for such an agreement.

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Abbas Slams Netanyahu’s Speech: Without Talks, Palestinians to Head to U.N.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday slammed a speech by Israel's prime minister and said the Palestinians would seek U.N. recognition if peace talks don't resume.

"Our first choice is negotiations, but if there is no progress before September we will go to the United Nations," Abbas said, criticizing a speech by Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday.

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Fatah: Palestinians Refuse to Declare Unilateral Independence

Palestinian authorities do not intend to declare unilateral independence, a top Fatah member said Tuesday following talks with senior Russian officials.

"We do not intend to unilaterally declare independence," Fatah member Azzam al-Ahmed said one day after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

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