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US Says Ukrainian People Make History With EU Pact

The United States on Tuesday welcomed Ukraine's ratification of a landmark EU pact and new laws granting self-rule to the east, urging Moscow to implement a ceasefire deal in return.

"We congratulate the people of Ukraine on making history today," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

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Canada Slaps Fresh Sanctions on Russia

Canada announced fresh sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, targeting four senior Russian army generals, a bank and five arms manufacturers, over Moscow's support for rebels in Ukraine.

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said this 12th round of economic sanctions was motivated by Moscow's continued "aggression" in eastern Ukraine.

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Clashes at Ukraine Parliament Over Corruption Bill

Ukrainian riot police fired tear gas on a group of about 200 demonstrators protesting outside parliament to demand the adoption of a so-called lustration law.

At least one activist from the Right Sector nationalist group was injured in the brief clashes, which saw protesters -- some masked -- set tires ablaze in Kiev, an AFP photographer said.

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Iran Looks to Boost Asia Ties as N.Korea FM Visits

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday he wants to boost diplomatic relations with Asian countries, as North Korea's foreign minister visited Tehran, the government's official website said.

"Iran puts great importance on strengthening its ties with countries in Asia, and Iran and North Korea can use their capabilities to boost their relations," Rouhani said.

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Nigerian President Urged to Declare 'Total War' on Boko Haram

Nigerian senators said Tuesday they will meet with President Goodluck Jonathan to press him to declare "total war" on Boko Haram, in a sign of frustration and concern over worsening security.

The upper house lawmakers will urge Jonathan "to declare total war on Boko Haram in the northeastern part of Nigeria and wherever else in Nigeria they may be".

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Italy Admits Paying Ransom for some Hostages

Italy on Tuesday admitted paying ransoms to obtain the freedom of some hostages, saying it approached negotiations on a case-by-case basis.

"Cases vary," Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli said on Italian radio, suggesting that a firm policy of not paying ransoms such as that of the United States was "a little mechanical".

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Solemn Commemorations in Kenya One Year on from Mall Massacre

Kenya began emotional commemorations on Tuesday to mark the first anniversary of Nairobi's Westgate mall massacre, remembering the 67 people killed by Somali Islamist gunmen and those who risked their lives to stop them.

In a speech at a memorial site opened at the capital's National Museum, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said the east African nation had been "seriously scarred" but not broken by the attackers from the Al-Qaida-affiliated Shebab rebels.

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China's Xi Holds Talks with Sri Lankan President

China's President Xi Jinping held talks Tuesday with his Sri Lankan counterpart, seeking to strengthen defense ties with the strategically located Indian Ocean nation that could provoke unease in neighboring India.

China is increasingly asserting its influence in Sri Lanka, a midway point on one of the world's busiest international shipping lanes.

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Mugabe Backs Russia, Says Western Sanctions 'Illegal'

Zimbabwean's veteran president Robert Mugabe voiced his support for Russia on Tuesday, describing Western sanctions against Moscow as "illegal".

"If sanctions are to apply they must be approved by the U.N. and those that are being imposed on the Russian Federation have not," the 90-year-old said after meeting visiting foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

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U.N. Security Council to take action on Ebola

Describing the Ebola outbreak as a threat to world peace, the U.N. Security Council is set to adopt a resolution urging countries to provide field hospitals and other urgent aid to West Africa.

A draft of the resolution obtained by AFP on Tuesday also calls on nations to lift travel and border restrictions, and asks airlines and shipping companies to maintain their links with affected countries.

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