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Fire Guts Building at Swiss Watchmaking Heritage Site

A unique 19th-century building in Switzerland's La Chaux-de-Fonds watchmaking town, a U.N. world heritage site, has burned to the ground, officials said Sunday.

It was not known what caused the fire, which destroyed seven apartments, a daycare and two businesses in the four-storey building, the town said in a statement.

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Palestinians Stage Demo to Protest 'Despicable' Obama U.N. Veto

Around 3,000 Palestinians gathered in the West Bank on Sunday to protest against the U.S. veto that nixed a Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements.

The crowd massed in Ramallah's Manara Square, a central roundabout in the West Bank city, waving banners and shouting slogans against the American administration.

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U.N. Chief Reiterates Support for STL on Hariri Murder Anniversary

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated Monday his support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the Lebanese people, on the sixth anniversary of the assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri.

"As Lebanon marks the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attack that took the lives of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others, the Secretary-General stands with the people of Lebanon in commemorating the life and achievements of Mr. Hariri and renews his condolences to the families of the victims of this crime," the U.N. chief said.

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Thai, Cambodian Clashes Resume Amid Call for U.N. to End Fighting

Cambodia called for U.N. peacekeepers to help end the fighting along its tense border with Thailand, where artillery fire echoed for a fourth day Monday near an 11th century temple classified as a World Heritage Site.

The crumbling stone temple, several hundred feet (meters) from Thailand's eastern border with Cambodia, has fueled nationalism on both sides of the disputed frontier for decades and conflict over it has sparked sporadic, brief battles in recent years. However, sustained fighting has been rare.

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Diplomats: International Community Adopts Wait-and-See Approach on Miqati Cabinet

Diplomats at the United Nations said they have “taken notice” of Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s vows to remain committed to international resolutions, including the resolution that established the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The diplomats, who refused to be identified, told An Nahar daily that “until now” Lebanese institutions “are working correctly.”

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Researchers Criticize AIDS Spending

Nearly 3 million lives have been saved by HIV/AIDS treatment but scare resources are being misspent and stigma is still keeping the most vulnerable from seeking help, according to a new book by researchers commissioned by the U.N.

The failings are particularly worrying at a time when worldwide recession and donor fatigue are hurting spending on AIDS, the researchers say.

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Lebanon Files U.N. Complaint over Israeli Violation, Shami to Meet Ban

Amid increased Israeli military activity on the border with Lebanon in the past few days, the Lebanese permanent mission to the U.N. filed Tuesday a complaint against Israel with the Security Council over a recent border violation.

On January 24 an Israeli patrol crossed the technical fence into a disputed area between the occupied Shebaa Farms and the liberated outskirts of the town of Kfar Shouba.

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Williams Tells Berri that Cabinet Should Represent Interests of All Lebanese

United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams stressed to Speaker Nabih Berri on Tuesday the need for the formation of a cabinet that has “the broadest possible base.”

“I underlined with the speaker the need for the new government to have the broadest possible base and to represent the interests of all Lebanese,” Williams said after meeting Berri in Ain el-Tineh.

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UN Says Number of Internet Users Worldwide Reaches Two Billion

The number of Internet users worldwide has reached the two billion mark, the head of the U.N.'s telecommunications agency, Hamadoun Toure, said on Wednesday.

"At the beginning of the year 2000 there only 500 million mobile subscriptions globally and 250 million Internet users," he said.

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Ban Says Tribunal Work Should not be Affected by Political Developments

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expects Lebanon’s new government to abide by its obligation to cooperate with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, his spokesman said.

Ban “expects any government that is formed in Lebanon to abide by the international obligations that Lebanon has undertaken,” spokesman Martin Nesirky told a news briefing in New York on Tuesday.

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