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Tear Gas Used to Disperse Pro-Gbagbo Protest in Abidjan

Police fired tear gas to disperse a banned protest Saturday in the economic capital of the Ivory Coast by supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo, an Agence France Presse reporter said.

Fifty young people shouting "Free Gbagbo" were pushed back while they tried to charge a barrier set up by police, who fired tear gas and caused the protesters to disperse before they reached Yopougan square, in a part of Abidjan that has long been a pro-Gbagbo stronghold.

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Italian Cardinal Says Don't Count Europe Out for Next Pope

Cardinals choosing the next pope should not count out European candidates even though most believers are in Asia, Africa and Latin America, an Italian cardinal elector said on Saturday.

"The conclave will vote on the basis of the person, not where they come from. Despite the crisis of faith, Europe still has a lot to give to the Church," Cardinal Velasio De Paolis said in an interview with La Stampa daily.

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Myanmar Rejects 'White Phosphorus' Claim Report

 Myanmar on Saturday dismissed an independent report that alleged security forces used white phosphorus in a crackdown on a copper mine protest last year, which left dozens of people injured.

The pre-dawn raid on protest camps at the Chinese-backed mine in northern Myanmar in November was the toughest clampdown on demonstrators since a reformist government came to power in early 2011.

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Anti-North Korea Leaflets Launched on Kim's Birthday

North Korean defectors in the South launched 200,000 anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the tense inter-Korean border on Saturday, the birth anniversary of the North's late leader Kim Jong-Il.

The defectors used gas-filled balloons to float the leaflets along with $1 currency notes across the western border town of Imjingak, despite high tensions owing to the North's third nuclear test on Tuesday.

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6.2 Quake Shakes Philippines' Mindanao

A powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Saturday triggering panic, but there were no immediate reports of any damage or casualties.

The quake struck at 12:37 pm (0437 GMT), off the coast, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) northeast of the town of Sarangani, said the government seismology institute.

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Chavez Supporters Rejoice after first Photos Released

Supporters of President Hugo Chavez displayed new confidence Saturday after the government released the first post-surgical photos of the ailing Venezuelan leader, in which he appears bed-ridden but smiling in the company of his daughters.

The pictures show the 58-year-old Chavez lying on his back in a Havana hospital and leafing through Thursday's edition of the official Cuban newspaper Granma.

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Colombian Guerrillas Release Two Police Hostages

Colombia's largest guerrilla group, the leftist FARC, on Friday released two police officers they had held for three weeks, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The ICRC also said a smaller leftist rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), had separately released five employees of a Canadian mining company kidnapped last month.

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Sri Lanka Journalist Shot and Wounded

Gunmen shot and wounded a journalist near Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, police said on Saturday, the latest in a string of attacks against media in the country.

Faraz Shauketaly, 54, a reporter with the privately owned Sunday Leader, whose editor was shot dead in 2009, was rushed to hospital for surgery following the midnight attack at his home, according to colleagues.

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Report: Australia 'Deeply Involved' in Israel Spy Case

Australian intelligence had detailed knowledge of the case of a Melbourne man thought to have been an Israeli spy well before he died in a Tel Aviv jail in 2010, a report said Saturday.

"Every day that goes by you see how deeply involved they were," a senior Israeli official told The Australian newspaper. "It is clear they were in the know long before he died."

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Ivory Coast Officially Becomes Member of ICC

Ivory Coast on Friday became a member of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where its former president is facing trial for alleged crimes against humanity.

Ambassador Youssoufou Bamba formally turned in paperwork to the United Nations in New York showing the country had ratified the Rome Statute, which set up the court. The moves makes it the 122nd state to become party to the statute.

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