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Georgia Police Investigate ex-PM over Fake Passport

Georgian police on Saturday questioned a former prime minister over the alleged use of a fake passport, further raising tensions between the government and President Mikheil Saakashvili, who says his allies are being persecuted.

"An investigation was opened into the use of a forged document and an attempt of illicit crossing of the state border," an interior ministry statement said.

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Iran Sacks Cyber Police Chief over Blogger's Death

Tehran's cyber police chief has been sacked for negligence in events leading to the death in custody of an Iranian blogger, Iran's police said on its website on Saturday.

Colonel Saeed Shokrian "was removed from his post due to negligence and lax supervision over personnel under his command," police.ir reported, quoting a decree by Iran's police chief, Esmaeel Ahmadi Moghadam.

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Japan to Postpone Talks with North Korea

Japan will postpone talks with North Korea after it announced plans to launch a rocket later this month, Kyodo news agency said Saturday, days before diplomats from the two countries were due to meet.

North Korea will launch a rocket between December 10 and 22, said official Korean Central News Agency earlier on Saturday, in what will be the country's second long-range rocket launch this year following a much-hyped but failed attempt in April.

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U.S. Drone Strike Kills at Least 1 in Pakistan

A U.S. drone fired two missiles into open fields in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt on Saturday, killing a suspected militant, local security officials said.

The unmanned U.S. drone targeted the suspect who was praying in an open field outside his home in the Shin Warsak area of South Waziristan about 20 kilometer (13 miles) from the Afghan border.

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Protesters, Police Clash in Mexico before Pena Nieto Inauguration

Hundreds of protesters clashed with police outside Mexico's congress Saturday ahead of Enrique Pena Nieto's presidential inauguration, throwing firebombs while officers responded with tear gas.

At least five police officers were injured as around 500 protesters, many wearing masks, threw objects and Molotov cocktails outside the congress, which was surrounded by metal barricades.

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U.N. Denounces Torture in Ivory Coast

The authorities in Ivory Coast have resorted to torture and arbitrary detentions in recent months following a wave of attacks against government targets, a senior U.N. official said here Saturday.

"It's beyond any doubt that there were cases of arbitrary detention, that there were cases of keeping people incommunicado, as well as some people were victims of torture," U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic told reporters.

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U.S. Warns against 'Highly Provocative' N. Korean Launch

The United States urged North Korea on Saturday to scrap plans to launch a rocket later this month, warning the "highly provocative" move would destabilize the region.

"Devoting scarce resources to the development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles will only further isolate and impoverish North Korea," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

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Cargo Plane Crashes in Congo, Around 30 Dead

A cargo plan crashed at Brazzaville airport as it was trying to land in a storm Friday, killing around 30 residents and also the crew, emergency services and witnesses said.

Around 30 local people had been killed as the plane skidded off the runway and crashed into houses and a bar in the Congolese capital before crashing into a ravine, said Georgelin Massemba, head of the emergency services. Earlier Friday, emergency services had spoken of around 20 dead.

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Iranian Defiance at IAEA Sparks Western 'Pessimism'

Iran fiercely denied Friday seeking nuclear weapons and threatened to withdraw from a key treaty aimed at stopping their spread, in another note of defiance just as fresh diplomatic efforts gather pace.

Speaking at a tense U.N. atomic agency meeting, Iran's envoy said that no "smoking gun" indicating a covert weapons drive had ever been found and that the West wanted to hijack the agency for their own ends.

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U.S. Senate Approves New Sanctions on Iran

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved new economic sanctions Friday aimed at further crippling Iran's energy, shipping and port sectors, a year after Congress passed tough restrictions against Tehran.

The amendment, tacked on to a sweeping defense spending bill being debated by the chamber, passed 94-0, and should sail through the House of Representatives.

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