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Mother Charged with Murder of Eight Children in Australia

The mother of seven of eight children killed in Australia was charged with their murder Sunday, police said, describing it as the most tragic episode in their career as a makeshift memorial saw an outpouring of grief.

The 37-year-old, named in local media as Mersane Warria, was charged with eight counts of murder after the bodies of the children -- four girls and four boys aged between two to 14 -- were found in the northern city of Cairns on Friday morning.

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Uzbekistan Votes in Parliamentary Polls

Polls opened in Uzbekistan early Sunday for parliamentary elections in the ex-Soviet Central Asian state where all four competing parties support President Islam Karimov's policies.

More than 20 million voters have registered to elect the 150-seat lower house of parliament, the Oliy Majlis, after the authorities sent out text messages urging people to vote.

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At Least One Killed in Clashes at Gabon Opposition Rally

A student was killed in clashes at an opposition rally in Gabon's capital, where police fired tear gas to disperse protesters demanding the resignation of President Ali Bongo Ondimba.

The opposition claimed three people had died and hundreds were injured in the violence, though there was no official confirmation of those figures.

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Putin Says No One Can 'Intimidate or Isolate' Russia

President Vladimir Putin said Saturday no country can "intimidate" or "isolate" Russia, after the West imposed new sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

"Of course, no one will be able to intimidate us, or contain and isolate Russia. No one has ever been able to and no one ever will," Putin said in a speech.

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U.N. Removes Former Somali Warlord from Sanctions List

A former Somali warlord who allied to the Islamist Shebab group but severed links this summer has been removed from a U.N. sanctions list.

Mohamed Said Atom, a powerful arms dealer, was targeted with U.N. travel and financial sanctions for "kidnapping, piracy and terrorism."

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U.N.: Afghan Civilian Casualties Hit Record High

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan hit a record high this year, a U.N. report said, highlighting worsening violence as U.S.-led troops leave after more than a decade of fighting the Taliban.

Casualties jumped 19 percent by the end of November compared to the year before, with 3,188 civilians killed and 6,429 injured, the United Nation's Mission's for Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a report.

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Dozens Arrested as Police Disperse Ankara Education Protest

Dozens of demonstrators were arrested on Saturday in the Turkish capital Ankara as police used pepper spray and water cannon to disperse a protest in favor of secular education.

Police moved in on the protest, organised by labour unions, in the Kizilay district of Ankara with protesters forced to take cover from the jets of water and pepper spray, an Agence France Presse photographer reported.

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Turkey's Erdogan Praises 'Clean' Legal Process against Opponents

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday praised as "clean and lawful" the legal process against his opponents that has been sharply criticised by the EU and includes an arrest warrant for his arch-foe Fethullah Gulen.

"I have been watching this process closely as president of this country. Everything is lawful and in line with procedure ... a really diligent and clean process is going on at the moment," Erdogan said in a televised speech in Istanbul.

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Report: FBI Mishandles Large Portion of U.S. Evidence

The FBI has mishandled large amounts of evidence in its offices across the United States, The New York Times reported Friday after reviewing an internal report from the investigative force.

The FBI has failed to keep close track of the weapons, valuables, money and drugs it keeps as part of its criminal cases, the report said, adding that almost half of the evidence reviewed by an internal investigation had errors.

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Russia Says New U.S., Canada Sanctions Will Fuel Ukraine Unrest

The latest round of Ukraine-related sanctions by the United States and Canada hamper efforts to resolve the conflict, Russia's foreign ministry said Saturday.

"The sanctions are directed to disrupt the political process," the ministry said in a statement following the announcement of the latest measures on Friday. 

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