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Senegal Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Iran Over Weapons Row

Senegal has cut diplomatic ties with Iran, accusing it of delivering weapons to separatist rebels in its restive southern Casamance region where 16 soldiers have been killed since the end of December.

A cache of Iranian weapons concealed as building material intercepted in Nigeria in October 2010, was found to be one of several shipments passing through Gambia and destined for the Casamance rebel movement.

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Frantic Search for Survivors as New Zealand Quake Leaves 400 Dead, Missing

Hundreds of rescuers swarmed over twisted and smoking buildings Wednesday in a frantic search for survivors after New Zealand's catastrophic earthquake left nearly 400 dead or missing.

Emergency services cordoned off central Christchurch, which was devastated by Tuesday's shallow, 6.3-magnitude tremor, to hunt for anyone still alive along with an unknown number of bodies buried in the rubble.

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Somali Pirates Kill 4 U.S. Hostages on Yacht

Somali pirates killed four Americans Tuesday, including a retired couple onboard their hijacked yacht in a sudden violent turn to efforts to end a hostage drama, the U.S. military said.

Four Somali pirates also died, two of them killed by U.S. special forces in one of the deadliest endings to a raft of hostage-takings off the coast of Somalia that are often resolved through ransom payments.

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At Least 65 Dead in New Zealand Quake

A powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake Tuesday killed 65 people and trapped dozens more under flattened buildings in New Zealand's most devastating tremor in 80 years.

Frantic rescuers and bystanders dug for survivors and thousands of panicked residents rushed into the streets of Christchurch, just six months after a 7.0 quake weakened buildings in the southern city of 340,000.

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Berlin Says Ties with Iran 'Unchanged' after FM Met Ahmadinejad

Germany stressed Monday its policy towards Iran had not changed after its foreign minister held a controversial meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the weekend.

"Our international partners know perfectly well that nothing at all has changed in terms of our attitude to Iran," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference.

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28 Killed at Afghan Government Office Suicide Blast

A suicide attacker killed 28 people and wounded 32 others on Monday when he blew himself up in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, interior ministry spokesman Zemerai Bashary said.

Bashary said all of the victims were civilians, describing the attack as "a disaster.”

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Azerbaijani Soldier Kills 7 Servicemen

An Azerbaijani soldier on Sunday shot dead seven of his fellow servicemen at a military base, a joint statement from the defense ministry and the military prosecutor's office said Monday.

An investigation is now under way, the joint statement said. The statement did not name the killer or give any reasons for the incident.

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9 People Killed in Mogadishu Suicide Blast

A suicide car bomb attack on a government security base in Mogadishu Monday killed at least nine people, including six policemen, and wounded scores, a police official told Agence France Presse.

At least nine people, including six police officers, were killed. Many others were wounded, the toll could be higher but I don't have more details," said Abdirahman Issa, a senior police official in the Somali capital.

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Car Bomb Defused Near Hotel in Russia Ski Resort

Sappers in Russia's insurgency-plagued Caucasus region defused a car bomb placed near a hotel in a popular ski resort area, police said Sunday.

The car, wired with explosives with the equivalent power of about 70 kilograms (155 pounds), was found Saturday, a day after three Russian tourists headed for the ski area were killed by masked gunmen and a ski lift was heavily damaged in an explosion.

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Austria Prepares for Evacuations from Libya, Other Arab Countries

Austria announced Sunday it was sending a military plane to Malta in view of evacuating Austrian and European citizens from Libya or other Arab countries, following recent unrest in the region.

"Due to the security situation in Libya, which has worsened in the last few hours, the government has decided to send a C-130 Hercules from the Austrian army, as well as special relief units, to southern Europe," the defense ministry said in a statement.

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