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Kabul Says Top U.S. Envoy Met Taliban in Qatar

Washington's chief envoy to Afghanistan met Taliban leaders in Qatar as part of U.S. efforts to bring the insurgents to the negotiating table, a senior Afghan official said on Wednesday.

The talks between the Taliban and Marc Grossman came in late January, after he met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, the official said, asking to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue.

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Hundreds of Raids against London Gang Suspects

A new specialist police unit tackling London gangs carried out hundreds of raids Wednesday, exactly six months on from the riots that hit the capital, arresting nearly 160 people.

The 158 suspected members were picked up as hundreds of Metropolitan Police officers mounted more than 300 raids across the city, starting at dawn.

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Ex-President, Other MPs Injured in Maldives Clashes

The Maldives' ex-president Mohammed Nasheed was injured Wednesday and briefly hospitalized after he was beaten by police during a rally of his supporters in the capital, his cousin told Agence France Presse.

Mohamed Nasheed, who says he was forced from power on Tuesday in a bloodless coup, was injured along with several other members of his Maldivian Democratic Party, his cousin and fellow party member Eva Abdulla said.

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Suicide Car Bomb Kills 11 in Somali Capital

A suicide bomber killed at least 11 people Wednesday in the war-torn Somali capital Mogadishu when he detonated an explosive-laden vehicle near the presidential palace, officials said.

"There was a heavy explosion, a car full of explosives was detonated. At least 11 people were killed and a greater number were wounded," lawmaker Mohamed Iro said.

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Pakistan Holds Talks with NATO, Afghanistan after Deadly U.S. Attack

The Pakistani army met with NATO and Afghan forces on Wednesday in an effort to improve coordination along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, a sign of thawing relations after American airstrikes accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last year.

Pakistan was outraged by the Nov. 26 attack on two of its Afghan border posts and claimed it was deliberate. Islamabad retaliated by closing its border to supplies meant for NATO troops in Afghanistan and by kicking the U.S. out of a base used by American drones.

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Hopes Fade for Scores Buried in Landslides Caused by Philippines Quake

Philippine rescue officials said Wednesday they are losing hope of finding anyone alive among 71 people still buried in landslides set off by a powerful earthquake. So far, 26 bodies have been recovered and identified.

President Benigno Aquino III flew to the disaster area in central Negros Oriental province and gave orders to speed up the reconstruction of roads and bridges that collapsed when the magnitude-6.9 quake struck Monday.

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Maldives Leader Calls for Unity Cabinet as ex-President Says was Forced to Resign

The new president of the Maldives called Wednesday for the formation of a national unity government in his Indian Ocean nation even as police and soldiers kept watch over his predecessor at an undisclosed location.

President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, the former vice president, was sworn in Tuesday when Mohamed Nasheed resigned after police joined widening street protests against his government.

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U.S. Drone Strike Kills 10 in Northwest Pakistan

A U.S. drone attack targeting a militant compound killed 10 insurgents in a troubled Pakistani tribal region on Wednesday, security officials said.

Two missiles hit the compound located in Tappi, 10 kilometers (six miles) southeast of Miranshah, the main town in volatile North Waziristan near the Afghan border, a military official in Peshawar said.

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S. Korean Leader in Saudi on 1st Leg of Gulf Tour

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak arrived on Tuesday in Riyadh at the start of a two-day visit to the OPEC kingpin which comes as Seoul seeks to diversify its oil sources.

"South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak arrived with his delegation in Riyadh today in an official visit to the kingdom," Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

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Explosives, Ice-breakers Battle Europe's Big Chill

Ice-breakers Tuesday battled Europe's big chill as the Danube river froze over more than 170 kilometers, and dozens died of cold on a continent gripped by some of the lowest temperatures in decades.

The overall death toll from the cold snap that began 11 days ago topped 400 while forecasters warned there would be no early let-up to the freezing weather.

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