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Gunmen Kill Shiite Judge, Guard, Driver in Pakistan

Unidentified gunmen shot dead a Shiite Muslim judge along with his driver and police bodyguard in southwestern Pakistan on Thursday in a suspected sectarian attack, police said.

The incident took place in Quetta, the capital of the oil and gas rich province of Baluchistan, as Zulfiqar Naqvi was travelling to his office.

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Five Australian Troops Killed in Afghanistan

Five Australian troops have been killed in two separate incidents in Afghanistan, defense officials said Thursday, in the worst day for Australian casualties since the war started.

The incidents, which included three deaths in an "insider attack" by an Afghan solider, bring to 38 the number of Australian lives lost in the war.

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Ban Tells Iran Leaders 'Concrete' Progress Needed on Nuclear Drive

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Iran's supreme leader and president on Wednesday that "concrete" progress is needed to end the showdown over their country's nuclear drive, a U.N. spokesman said.

Ban also had a tough message for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on human rights, their caustic comments on Israel and Iran's involvement in the Syrian civil war, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told U.N. correspondents from Tehran.

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Afghan President Dismisses Spy Chief

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday announced the dismissal of his intelligence chief ahead of an imminent cabinet reshuffle involving the top security ministries.

The head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Rahmatullah Nabil, was dismissed as Karzai had decided that no intelligence chief could serve longer than two years, the president's office said.

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Hollande Facing Tough Autumn as Popularity Falls

His popularity sliding less than four months after being elected, Socialist President Francois Hollande is heading into a difficult autumn that will test public patience over France's flagging economy.

With divisions also starting to show in his inexperienced government, analysts say Hollande is looking vulnerable as he prepares to push through a deficit-cutting budget and face down union anger over mounting job losses.

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Hijack Alert as Plane Lands at Amsterdam's Airport

Dutch police said Wednesday that an alert over a feared hijacking of a flight from Spain to Amsterdam which caused fighter jets to scramble was triggered by a "miscommunication."

"The report over the hijacking seemed to have been a miscommunication," the police said in a tweet on their official Twitter account, explaining that "No radio contact was possible" with the plane.

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Death Penalty Confirmed for Mumbai Attacks Gunman

India's Supreme Court on Wednesday confirmed the death sentence handed down to Mohammed Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed.

Pakistan-born Kasab, one of 10 gunmen who laid siege to India's financial capital in attacks that lasted nearly three days, had appealed against the sentence claiming that he had not received a fair trial.

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IAEA Report to Detail Iranian Nuclear Advances

A new U.N. atomic agency report due Thursday or Friday is expected to detail how Iran is continuing to expand its nuclear program despite painful sanctions and talk of Israeli military action.

Just as Iran seeks to improve its image by hosting a Non-Aligned Movement summit attended by U.N. head Ban Ki-moon, the report will show how Tehran is boosting uranium enrichment in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, diplomats told Agence France Presse.

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Ukraine Court Upholds Tymoshenko Conviction

Ukraine's high court on Wednesday upheld former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's conviction and seven-year jail sentence for abuse of power linked to a disputed 2009 gas deal with Russia.

"The judicial panel has ruled that the appeal filed by Tymoshenko is not subject to approval," Judge Olexander Elfimov told the court.

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Six Soldiers Dead as Militants Attack Pakistan Checkpost

At least six Pakistani soldiers were killed in clashes after militants attacked a checkpost in the country's lawless tribal northwest on Wednesday, officials said.

Dozens of militants armed with rockets and grenades stormed the checkpost in Surang Baba Ziarat village, around 30 kilometers north of Wana, the main town of South Waziristan tribal district, a senior security official in Peshawar told Agence France Presse.

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