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Venezuela Demands Release of General Snared in U.S. Drug Case

The Venezuelan government Friday demanded the release of a former military intelligence chief who was arrested in Aruba at U.S. request to face drug trafficking charges.

Retired major general Hugo Carvajal was arrested Wednesday night on the Dutch-owned island, where he had been designated but not confirmed as Venezuela's consul.

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MH17 Victims Lie Abandoned as Australia, Netherlands Ready Mission

A strip of white bandage on a stick in a sunflower field marked the spot where the remains of one of the 298 victims of downed Malaysian flight MH17 lay in the sun on Friday more than a week after the crash.

Combine harvesters cut down the wheat in surrounding fields in a semblance of normality at the gruesome scene -- some of them skirting pieces of the wreckage.

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U.S. Soldiers Charged with Raping Pregnant Woman Face Italy Trial

Two American paratroopers charged with raping and beating a pregnant Romanian prostitute will stand trial in Italy, the justice ministry said Friday.

The two soldiers, aged 21 and 22, were arrested on Wednesday for the alleged attack in Vicenza in northern Italy, where the paratroopers are based.

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Pro-Gaza Rally Held in Berlin under Close Police Watch

About 1,000 pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through Berlin Friday, closely watched by police for any banned anti-Semitic slogans and separated from pro-Israel rallies.

More than 1,000 officers were on guard in the rainy capital for the rally against Israel's Gaza offensive that has killed more than 845 people, most of them Palestinian civilians.

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Russia Accuses U.S. of 'Smear Campaign' over Ukraine

Russia on Friday called the latest U.S. accusations of Moscow's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict a baseless "smear campaign" and said Washington bears responsibility for the bloodshed.

"Due to the smear campaign against us that the U.S. Administration has begun... we reject the unfounded public insinuations that U.S. deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf is spreading on a daily basis," a statement by the Russian foreign ministry said. 

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Zambian Freed from Captivity in Sudan's Darfur

A Zambian aid worker was released in Sudan's troubled Darfur region on Friday after 19 days in captivity, peacekeepers said.

Felix Ngoma, who is on the staff of the International Organization for Migration, was the latest kidnap victim in a region where crime and violence have risen dramatically.

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U.S. 'Peace Cyclist' Killed by Russian Drunk Driver

An American "peace ambassador" traveling around the world on his bicycle was run over and killed by a Russian drunk driver in a hit-and-run accident, officials said Friday.

Ron McGerity, a 60-year-old who had traveled 120,000 kilometers (75,000 miles) over the past 15 years on his bike visiting 61 countries with a message of peace, died on Thursday on a country road in central Russia.

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Confusion after Ukraine's PM Quits

Ukraine's political circus made an unwelcome return to center stage as bickering lawmakers struggled Friday to avert a crisis of their own making after Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned in a huff.

As the country battles a bloody pro-Russian insurgency in the east amid international attention over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, analysts said the last thing Ukraine needed was a bout of political limbo.

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Absent ex-Kyrgyzstan President Bakiyev Gets Life Sentence

Kyrgyzstan's exiled former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev was sentenced in absentia Friday to life in prison and his assets confiscated for trying to put down anti-government protests in 2010.

Bakiyev fled the country with his family in the wake of the violent protests against corruption and soaring living costs in the former Soviet central Asian republic that left more than 80 people dead.

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Jewish Museums in Norway Close after Terror Alert

Jewish museums in Norway remained closed to the public on Friday, the day after Norway stepped up security as it announced a possible imminent terrorist attack by jihadists coming from Syria.

The Jewish community seems like a probable target for Islamist militants who have fought in the war-torn country, as underscored by the deadly attack on Brussels' Jewish Museum in May.

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