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Religious Violence Kills 32, Displaces 9,000 in Myanmar Town

The death toll from religious violence in central Myanmar rose to 32 Saturday as rescuers found bodies in the ashes of homes torched during an eruption of communal unrest, officials said.

Almost 9,000 people have been displaced by Buddhist-Muslim unrest that tore through the town of Meiktila, according to the information ministry.

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PKK Says to Withdraw Fighters if Turkey Shows Goodwill

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) will only pull its fighters out of Turkey once it sees concrete steps from Ankara following the outlawed group's ceasefire, a top rebel commander said Saturday.

Murat Karayilan made the warning in a video message in which he said the PKK was officially proclaiming the ceasefire which jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan called for on Thursday.

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China Leader Says Russia Trip 'Far Exceeds Expectations'

China's new leader Xi Jinping said Saturday his first foreign trip as president to Russia had exceeded his expectations and hailed the strong partnership between the two countries after signing numerous energy deals.

"I can say that from my point of view, my visit has already achieved its aim and the results have already far exceeded my expectations," Xi told Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in comments translated into Russian and posted on the Russian government website.

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Pakistan Taliban Threaten to Assassinate Musharraf

The Pakistani Taliban on Saturday threatened to assassinate former military ruler Pervez Musharraf when he returns to the country to contest elections after nearly five years in self-imposed exile.

The 69-year-old escaped three assassination attempts when in office from 1999 to 2008, a target of Islamist extremists because of his alliance in the U.S.-led "war on terror" and attempts to clamp down on militants.

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Philippine Militants Free Australian Held for 15 Months

Australian Warren Rodwell emerged Saturday withered from 15 months as a captive of Islamic militants in the lawless southern Philippines, his ribs protruding but able to smile.

Rodwell, a former soldier, 54, joked with policemen and a journalist who took exclusive video footage of him for AFP at Pagadian city police station on Mindanao island, shortly after his pre-dawn release.

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Pope Holds Historic Meet with Predecessor Benedict XVI

Pope Francis flew in to a papal residence near Rome on Saturday for an unprecedented encounter with "pope emeritus" Benedict XVI -- the first time a pontiff has met his predecessor.

The talks round off a historic few weeks for the Roman Catholic Church after Benedict became the first pope to resign in over 700 years and only the second to do so by choice in 2,000 years.

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Rescuers Reach Thai Refugee Camp after Deadly Blaze

Thai rescue workers picked through the ashes of hundreds of shelters for Myanmar refugees Saturday after a ferocious blaze swept through a camp in northern Thailand killing 35 people.

Around 100 people were injured in Friday's fire at the Mae Surin camp in Mae Hong Son province, provincial governor Narumol Paravat told AFP by telephone, giving a reduced toll from the 45 dead previously stated.

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Soldiers Patrol Riot-Hit Myanmar Town

Troops patrolled the streets of a central Myanmar town Saturday after Buddhist-Muslim unrest tore through the area leaving at least 20 dead and spurring the government to declare emergency rule.

Around 50 military trucks were deployed in Meiktila, where homes and mosques have been torched by mobs armed with knives and sticks in three days of communal rioting.

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N. Korean Leader Inspects Special Forces Unit

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has inspected a feared special forces unit, ordering them to strike at "lightening speed" once war breaks out, state media reported Saturday.

The inspection comes at a time of escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, with multiple threats from the North of an armed response to joint South Korea-U.S. military drills and to U.N. sanctions imposed after its nuclear test last month.

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Obama Shrugs Off Khamenei's New Israel Threat

U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that Iran's leader should spend more time working to improve the lot of his people than firing off warnings that he will annihilate Israeli cities.

Obama, in Jordan on the latest stop of a Middle East tour, sought to avoid getting into a war of words with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but said Iran could transform its future if it stood down its nuclear program.

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