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Rescuers Hunt for Survivors as China Quake Toll Hits 80

Rescuers searching for survivors from twin earthquakes that struck southwestern China battled blocked roads and downed communications Saturday as the death toll rose to 80.

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Christian Girl Freed in Pakistan Blasphemy Case

A Christian girl accused of blasphemy in Pakistan was on Saturday released on bail after more than three weeks in jail, officials said, in a case that has sparked an international outcry.

Rimsha Masih was arrested on August 16 for allegedly burning pages containing verses from the Koran but was released from a prison in Rawalpindi after a court on Friday accepted her bail application.

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Regional Leaders Meet on DR Congo Unrest

Regional heads of state began talks Saturday in an effort to find a lasting solution to chronic unrest in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo but less than a third of those invited turned up.

The mini-summit opened in the Ugandan capital a day late after officials said that regional defence ministers failed to agree on the proposals to be discussed and it was unclear what if anything they had decided.

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Obama Honors First Responders on 9/11 Anniversary

U.S. President Barack Obama urged Americans to honor first responders and men and women in uniform who keep the country safe as he marked the eleventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"It's a chance to honor the courage of the first responders who risked their lives - on that day, and every day since," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

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Taliban Bomber Kills 6 Teens in Kabul

A suicide bomber struck outside NATO headquarters in Kabul on Saturday, killing six street children a day after the United States moved to blacklist the Haqqani faction as a terrorist organization.

The Taliban, leading a decade-long insurgency against NATO troops and the Afghan government, swiftly claimed responsibility, saying the CIA had been the target to avenge U.S. moves to designate as terrorists their most feared faction.

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Chinese Premier Visits Earthquake Disaster Zone

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday visited earthquake victims in southwest China after twin tremors left at least 80 people dead and hundreds more injured, state media reported.

Television pictures showed Wen, who arrived late Friday, in a tent with survivors in the remote and mountainous area, where crippled infrastructure was complicating efforts to assess the full scale of the disaster.

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Iran Slams Canada for Breaking Off Relations

Iran hit out at Canada's decision to break off diplomatic ties, with foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast accusing the Canadian government of being "under the influence of the Zionist regime."

Canada closed its Tehran embassy on Friday and ordered Iranian diplomats be expelled, in a severance of ties in which it accused the Islamic Republic of being the biggest threat to world peace.

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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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