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Taiwan Braces for Tropical Storm Fung-Wong

Taiwan on Saturday readied nearly 50,000 troops in preparation for tropical storm Fung-Wong as it churns toward the island with threats of downpours and powerful winds after claiming five lives in the Philippines.

Three counties in southern Taiwan have decided to close offices and schools from Saturday night while dozens of flights and ferry services were suspended, authorities said.

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N. Korea Threatens Attack if Leaflets are Launched from South

North Korea on Saturday threatened to attack South Korean activists if they launch anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border while the South hosts the Asian Games.

A group of South Korean activists plans to launch 200,000 leaflets slung from gas-filled balloons into the North from a site near the border on Sunday.

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Khodorkovsky Urges Russians to Pull Together to Challenge Putin

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Kremlin opponent who spent a decade in prison, on Saturday launched a movement to bring together pro-European Russians to challenge strongman Vladimir Putin's grip on power.

Once Russia's richest man, Khodorkovsky was released from prison late last year and is now based in Switzerland. He urged his compatriots to pull together to be able to influence the fate of the country.

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Dalai Lama Slams Killings in Name of Religion

The Dalai Lama on Saturday condemned mindless violence in the name of religion, saying the concept of jihad was being misused and misinterpreted by Islamist extremists.

The Nobel Peace prize winner was referring to bloodshed unleashed by the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq where it has overrun swathes of territory.

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NATO Reviews Ties with Russia as New Truce Reached in Ukraine

NATO's top military commanders are meeting in Lithuania on Saturday to discuss relations with Russia as the warring sides in Ukraine agreed to pull back troops under a new peace plan reached overnight in Belarus.

General Knud Bartels, who chairs NATO's Military Committee, said defense chiefs from the 28 nation alliance are set to review "future relationship with Russia and NATO's military posture".

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Disputed Afghan Election Result to Be Announced Sunday

The result of Afghanistan's disputed election will be declared on Sunday, officials said Saturday, as last-minute talks between the two rival candidates continued on a proposed power-sharing deal.

The stalemate between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah since the June 14 vote has plunged Afghanistan into a political crisis as U.S.-led NATO troops end their 13-year war against the Taliban.

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Renzi under Scrutiny as his Father Faces Fraud Probe

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi came under increasing scrutiny Saturday as media interest grew in a bankruptcy fraud probe of his father, who has spoken out to defend his innocence.

News broke earlier this week that Tiziano Renzi was under investigation as part of a probe into a newspaper distribution and advertising firm he owned before it was dissolved.

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Reports: Security Upped at Vatican over Attack Fears

Security has been tightened in Saint Peter's Square after intelligence services intercepted a possible plan to attack the Vatican, Italian media reported Saturday, increasing fears Pope Francis could be in danger.

A foreign security service alerted Italy this week after intercepting a conversation between two Arab speakers which referred to "a demonstrative act, Wednesday, at the Vatican," Il Messaggero daily reported.

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Third Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in East Ukraine

Russia has delivered a third shipment of aid to rebel-controlled Ukraine, sending trucks carrying water and food across the border, a spokesman for Russia's emergencies ministry said on Saturday.

"The convoy has arrived and is being unloaded" in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk, spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky told AFP.

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Fiji Dismisses Claims of Vote Fraud

Fiji authorities have rejected claims of a corrupt election as the Fiji First Party of coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama closed in on a landslide victory Saturday.

With nearly two-thirds of the votes confirmed following the Pacific nation's first democratic vote in eight years, Fiji First had 57.6 percent of the vote, well clear of the Social Democratic Liberal Party trailing on 29.6 percent.

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