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France Says Ready to Host Mideast Peace Conference

France is ready to host a Middle East peace conference before the end of July to help re-launch stalled negotiations, France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Thursday.

Speaking in Ramallah, Juppe warned that the current stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians was "untenable" and said France was willing to transform a July meeting of international donors into a broader peace conference.

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Williams: UNIFIL Attack Highlights Need to Form Govt

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams stressed on Thursday the urgent need to form a cabinet that can address challenges at the security level.

“Incidents such as the attack on UNIFIL highlight the urgent need for a government in Lebanon that can address challenges at the security level,” Williams said about the roadside bomb that targeted U.N. peacekeepers in the south last Friday.

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Armed Protesters Clash with Yemen Forces in Taez, 15 Killed in Sanaa

Protesters, armed for the first time since demonstrations began in January, clashed Thursday with security forces in the flashpoint city of Taez, witnesses told Agence France Presse.

Witnesses said the clashes took place near the presidential palace and near a post held by the Republican Guard, an elite army unit loyal to embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh and led by his son Ahmed.

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U.N.: Libyan Regime, Opposition Committed 'War Crimes'

A U.N. panel on Wednesday accused Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime of carrying out systematic attacks on the population, saying that it committed not only war crimes but also crimes against humanity.

While it found fewer reports of violations by the opposition, the commission of inquiry set up by the U.N. Human Rights Council also found that rebel forces committed acts that constituted war crimes.

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Britain: Syria Must Be Reported to U.N. over Nuke Claims

Britain believes that Syria should be reported to the U.N. Security Council over its alleged illicit nuclear activity, Britain's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Wednesday.

In a restricted report circulated to member states last week, the U.N. watchdog said it was "very likely" that a remote desert site in Syria bombed by Israeli planes in 2007 was indeed a covert nuclear reactor, as alleged by the United States.

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NATO Extends Libya Campaign Until Late September

NATO allies agreed Wednesday to extend its military campaign in Libya for another 90 days until late September, the alliance said.

"NATO and partners have just decided to extend our mission for Libya for another 90 days," said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

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U.N. Says TV, Internet Harming Protection of Biodiversity

Young people's fascination with television, the Internet, video games and other electronic entertainment is making it more difficult to protect the world's biodiversity, a U.N. official warned Tuesday.

Because many young people are urbanized and alienated from nature, they may not realize the value of protecting natural ecosystems and species, said Ahmed Djoghlaf, the United Nations executive secretary on biological diversity.

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Climate Change to Deal Blow to Fruits, Nuts

Climate change is expected to alter the global industry in fruits and nuts dramatically as tree crops such as pistachios and cherries struggle in the rising temperatures, researchers said.

A study said that even if polluters took greater action to cut carbon emissions, the impact of climate change will likely be severe enough that the nearly $100 billion-a-year fruit and nut industry needs to reassess planning.

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U.N. Rights Chief: Brutality in Libya, Syria 'Shocking'

U.N. rights Chief Navi Pillay on Monday slammed the brutality of crackdowns on protestors by government forces in Libya and Syria, saying the actions were shocking in their disregard for human rights.

"The brutality and magnitude of measures taken by the governments in Libya and now Syria have been particularly shocking in their outright disregard for basic human rights," Pillay told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

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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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