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Malaysia Arrests 1,000 Ahead of Pro-Reform Demo

Malaysian police arrested 1,000 people and used tear gas and water cannon in the capital Saturday as part of a massive security operation to thwart an opposition-backed rally for electoral reforms.

About 8,000 protesters defied baton-carrying riot officers in front of a downtown bus station, retreating at times and regrouping to push back police lines in a cat-and-mouse confrontation.

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53 of 112 Survive DR. Congo Plane Crash

A plane carrying 112 people crashed as it attempted to land in stormy weather in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Friday, but at least 53 people have survived, the air company said.

The plane, operated by Hewa Bora Airways, crashed at Kisangani airport in the northeast of the country.

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Europe Rights Court Rejects Cases against Swiss Minaret Ban

Europe's rights court on Friday rejected two cases brought by Muslims against Switzerland's constitutional ban on the construction of new minarets.

The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights said it would not consider the cases because the plaintiffs "cannot claim to be 'victims' of a violation" of the European Convention on Human Rights, which the court enforces.

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Sudan Recognizes Republic of South Sudan

Sudan on Friday announced its official recognition of the new Republic of South Sudan a day before its southern neighbor becomes the world's newest nation.

"The Republic of Sudan announces that it recognizes the Republic of South Sudan as an independent state, according to the borders existing on January 1, 1956," Minister of Presidential Affairs Bakri Hassan Saleh said in a statement broadcast on state television.

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Berlusconi Confirms he Will Not Stand in 2013 Election

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi confirmed Friday that he will not run in the next elections in 2013 and will hand over the reigns of his party to Justice Minister Angelino Alfano.

"I will not be a candidate for the post of prime minister in the next elections," the 74-year old media mogul said in an interview with the left-wing Repubblica newspaper.

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British PM's Ex-aide Arrested over Tabloid Scandal, as Cameron Announces Inquiry

British police arrested Prime Minister David Cameron's former media chief Friday over phone hacking at the News of the World as the scandal at the doomed tabloid threatened to engulf Downing Street.

The arrest of Andy Coulson came shortly after Cameron told a press conference that he took "full responsibility" for hiring the former editor of the Sunday newspaper who quit as Cameron's communications director in January, citing pressure over the phone hacking allegations.

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Latvia's New President Takes Oath, Vows to Improve Economy

Latvia's new president was sworn in Friday at a time of political turmoil in the small Baltic country where voters could soon decide to dissolve Parliament.

Andris Berzins, 66, defeated outgoing President Valdis Zatlers in a parliamentary ballot last month. The vote came just days after Zatlers called a referendum on dissolving the legislature, which he said was controlled by wealthy oligarchs. It was the first time in Latvia's 20-year, post-Soviet history that a president had used that power.

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Indonesia Seizes Firearms, Arrests 11 Men over Terror Plot

Indonesia has rounded up 11 terror suspects who planned to launch attacks against police and liberal Muslim figures, the national police spokesman said Friday.

"They planned to attack police and the JIL office," Antan Bachrul Alam told reporters, referring to the liberal Muslim group which was the target of a parcel bomb in March which injured four people.

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Pakistan Orders Troops in after 65 Killed in Karachi Violence

Pakistan on Friday ordered 1,000 extra troops to deploy in Karachi with instructions to shoot-to-kill after another 65 people were killed in the deadliest six months of political violence since 1995.

Gunfire reverberated in several neighborhoods and thousands of people were stranded, short of food and too frightened to go out after three consecutive nights of violence in what is Pakistan's biggest city and economic hub.

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Chavez Looks to Inner Circle as he Fights Cancer

Hugo Chavez has built an entire career on being Venezuela's one-man political messiah. Now his precarious health appears to be prompting him to look into his inner circle for those he thinks are most capable of managing his socialist revolution while he undergoes cancer treatment.

Those standing out include Chavez's elder brother, his foreign minister, his energy minister and a few trusted military officers, both current and former. They are all time-tested loyalists and committed leftists. Yet if Chavez has his mind set on any particular heir to power, he hasn't yet sent clear signals as to whom it would be.

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