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Canada Shuts Tehran Embassy, Expels Iranian Envoys

Canada closed its Tehran embassy and vowed to expel Iranian diplomats Friday, expressing concern for the mission's safety and slamming Iran's support for the Syrian regime and its threats against Israel.

"Canada's position on the regime in Iran is well known. Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today," Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said.

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Breivik Verdict Stands as he Refuses Appeal Option

An Oslo court verdict last month handing gunman Anders Behring Breivik a 21-year prison sentence stands after he told his lawyers he would not lodge an appeal by Friday's deadline, they said.

Norwegian Breivik was sentenced to his country's maximum prison sentence for his July 22 twin attacks last year that left 77 people dead, though it can be extended indefinitely if he is still considered a threat to society.

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Azerbaijan, Armenia Trade Barbs over Ax-Killer Pardon

Bitter enemies Azerbaijan and Armenia traded accusations on Friday amid growing international criticism of Baku's pardoning of an extradited Azerbaijani soldier who had hacked an Armenian to death.

Ramil Safarov was pardoned, promoted and financially rewarded after being extradited to Azerbaijan from Hungary, where he had been serving a life sentence for killing the Armenian soldier with an ax during a NATO training session in 2004.

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U.S. to Designate Haqqani Network a Terror Group

The United States decided Friday to designate the Pakistan-linked Haqqani network as a terrorist group, stepping up pressure despite concerns over the impact on ties with Islamabad.

In a report ordered by Congress, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the Haqqani network -- known for bloody attacks in Afghanistan -- was a terrorist group, an official said.

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Britain Urges EU to Strengthen Iran Sanctions

British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged the European Union on Friday to step up the pressure on Iran over its controversial nuclear drive by beefing up sanctions.

"It is necessary to increase the pressure on Iran, to intensify sanctions," Hague said in reference to Iran, as he joined his 26 EU colleagues for two days of informal talks in Cyprus expected also to focus on the conflict in Syria.

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Italian Rescuers Search for Missing in Migrant Boat Sinking

Rescuers searched Friday for missing would-be migrants after plucking 54 people from the sea after their boat sank off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa overnight, rescue services said.

The Italian coastguards along with customs police and NATO ships were taking part in the search, the ANSA news agency reported.

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27 Dead in Turkey's Latest Operation against Kurdish Rebels

At least 26 Kurdish rebels and a Turkish soldier have been killed in Ankara's latest operation against Kurdish separatists in the country's southeast, Anatolia news agency reported Friday.

Local security officials earlier said 18 rebels and a Turkish soldier had died.

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Red Cross: 12 Kenyans Killed in Revenge Ethnic Attack

Kenyan gunmen killed at least 12 people in a revenge attack following a massacre last month in which 52 people were killed in the remote southeastern Tana region, Red Cross officials said Friday.

"Eight men, two women and a child died in the attacks," Kenya Red Cross spokesperson Nelly Muluka said, adding that one person later died "from gunshot injuries on his way to hospital".

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Pakistani Court Grants Bail to Christian 'Blasphemy' Girl

A Pakistani court on Friday granted bail to a Christian girl accused of blasphemy, in a case that has sparked an international outcry.

Judge Muhammad Azam Khan ordered the release of Rimsha Masih, who was arrested in a poor Islamabad suburb on August 16 accused of burning papers containing verses from the Koran.

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Southwest China Quakes Kill 50, Injures 550

At least 50 people were killed and 550 injured when two shallow quakes struck a remote and mountainous area of southwest China on Friday, toppling buildings and sparking chaos in the streets, officials said.

Residents described how people ran out of buildings screaming as the two quakes hit on the border of southwestern Yunnan and Guizhou provinces an hour apart around the middle of the day followed by a string of aftershocks.

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