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Japan Closes Mali Embassy as Security Fears Rise

Japan said Wednesday it would close its Malian embassy over growing security fears amid a French-led assault against Islamists which has raised concerns of a backlash against ethnic Arabs and Tuaregs.

French and Malian troops were due to sweep the outskirts of towns recently recaptured from the Al-Qaida-linked rebels for landmines they suspect the extremists left as they fled an air and ground assault by the armies.

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Report: Iran Proposes Holding P5+1 Nuclear Talks in Cairo

Iran on Wednesday proposed Cairo as the venue for the next talks with world powers on its disputed nuclear drive, adding that the Egyptians have welcomed the idea, the ISNA news agency reported.

Iran has proposed that "the next meeting be held in Cairo, and it was welcomed by our Egyptian brothers," it cited Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi as saying after a cabinet meeting.

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Officials: Afghan 'Spy' Killed over U.S. Drone Strikes

Militants on Wednesday dumped the mutilated body of a purported Afghan spy accused of collaborating on U.S. drone strikes that killed a prominent warlord in Pakistan this month, officials said.

The body of the man identified as Asmatullah Kharoti was found in Wana, the main town of the South Waziristan tribal district, which borders Afghanistan.

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Fabius, EU Parliament Chief Say Cameron's Europe à la Carte not Option

France on Wednesday branded British Prime Minister David Cameron's plan to hold an in-out referendum on its European Union membership as dangerous.

"It risks being dangerous for Britain itself because Britain outside of Europe, that will be difficult," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France Info radio.

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Editor Gets 10 Years in Jail for Thai Royal Insult

A prominent Thai activist and magazine editor was sentenced to a decade in prison Wednesday for defaming Thailand's monarchy, a verdict rights groups condemned as the latest affront to freedom of expression in the Southeast Asian country.

Somyot Pruksakasemsuk was convicted of publishing two articles in an anti-establishment magazine that made negative references to the crown.

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Cameron Promises British Referendum on Staying in EU by 2017

Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday promised to hold a referendum by 2017 giving British people the choice of staying in or leaving the European Union if his party wins the next election.

Cameron said in a long-awaited speech he wants to renegotiate the terms of Britain's EU membership and "when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in-or-out choice.”

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Japan Launching Spy Satellite to Monitor North Korea

Japan is to launch a new spy satellite on Sunday to strengthen its monitoring capabilities amid concern that North Korea may carry out more missile and nuclear tests.

A rocket carrying a radar-equipped satellite is scheduled to blast off from a space center at Tanegashima in the southwest, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has announced.

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Ukraine's Tymoshenko Denies Murder Charges

Ukraine's jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Tuesday denied she was behind the killing of a powerful lawmaker in 1996, calling the murder charge against her "hysteria".

"I can state clearly and unambiguously that I have nothing to do with the tragic murder of Yevgen Shcherban in 1996, and this will be proven in international courts and in the courts of other countries," Tymoshenko said in a statement read to journalists by her lawyer Sergiy Vlasenko.

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Three People Shot, including Gunmen, at Texas College

At least three people -- including a gunman -- were shot at a Texas college following a dispute Tuesday, officials said as details trickled out from the chaotic campus.

The shooting comes as the United States is embroiled in a debate on gun violence in the wake of the horrific massacre of 20 first graders and six staff members at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school.

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Ban Ki-Moon Calls for End to U.N. Disarmament Stalemate

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday called for the U.N. Conference on Disarmament to end years of stalemate over Pakistan's reluctance to discuss a ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Ban stressed the importance of the conference, which due to a consensus requirement has been deadlocked for four years because Pakistan has refused to allow talks to get started towards a treaty banning further production of fissile material.

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