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Romney Didn't Want to Run for President, Son Says

No one wanted to be president less than Mitt Romney, his son said in an interview out Sunday that raises new questions about the candidacy of the losing Republican nominee.

In an interview with the Boston Globe examining what went wrong with the Romney campaign, his eldest son Tagg explains that his father had been a reluctant candidate from the start.

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U.S. Lobby Issues Point-Blank 'No' on Gun Control

The most powerful gun lobby in the United States ruled out Sunday any support for greater regulation of firearms or ammunition magazines in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre.

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), said planned legislation to outlaw military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines was "phony" and would not work.

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S. Africa Govt. Tight-Lipped about Mandela Condition

South Africa's ailing anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela may have to stay in hospital over Christmas, a presidential aide suggested on Sunday, although he declined to give any update on his current state of health.

The frail 94-year-old former president was admitted to hospital in the capital Pretoria on December 8. He is receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection and has also had a procedure to remove gallstones.

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Somali Troops Free 22 Hostages Held Almost 3 Years by Pirates

Troops from the Somali region of Puntland on Sunday rescued 22 hostages held by pirates for almost three years after their ship was seized off the Yemeni coast, the authorities said, adding that the men bore signs of torture.

The crew from the Dubai-owned and Panamanian-flagged MV Iceberg were freed after two weeks of fighting and a siege of the vessel off the coast of Somalia, the Puntland authorities said in a statement.

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Slain Pakistani Minister Buried amid Tight Security

Prominent politicians were among mourners Sunday paying their last respects amid tight security to a Pakistani provincial minister killed in a suicide attack claimed by the Taliban.

Bashir Bilour, senior minister of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was killed along with eight other people when the suicide bomber struck at a political meeting in the provincial capital Peshawar on Saturday.

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India Rocked by Deadly Protests over Sex Attacks

Police shot dead a journalist Sunday during a protest over a sex assault on an actress in northeast India as security forces in New Delhi fired tear gas at new demonstrations over a student's gang-rape.

After the victim of last Sunday's gang-rape in Delhi began recounting her ordeal to police, a wave of revulsion over sex crimes spread to the remote state of Manipur where a protest was held over the attempted rape of the actress.

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Mali Islamists Destroying More Timbuktu Mausoleums

Islamists occupying Timbuktu in northern Mali were using pickaxes on Sunday to destroy any remaining mausoleums in the ancient city, an Islamist leader said.

"Not a single mausoleum will remain in Timbuktu, Allah doesn't like it. We are in the process of smashing all the hidden mausoleums in the area," an Ansar Dine leader, Abou Dardar, told Agence France Presse.

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Monti Says Ready to Lead Italy again as Elections Loom

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said Sunday he was ready to govern the country again as head of a pro-reform coalition in favor of change in Italy and Europe but would not be a candidate in the February election.

"If one or more political forces adhere to my agenda and put forward the idea of proposing me for the post of premier, I would weigh the option," the outgoing premier said at a news conference following his resignation on Friday.

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Daughter Decries 'Lies' about Chavez's Health

One of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's daughters took to social media to demand a halt to "lies" about her father's health after rumors circulated the cancer-embattled leader had died.

"Respect for the family and especially fully respect for my people. Enough of the lies! We are next to papa. LIVING, struggling and recovering his health. WITH GOD," Maria Gabriela Chavez wrote in a Twitter message Friday.

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S. Korea Says North 'Rocket' Could Fly 10,000Km

North Korea's recent rocket launch amounted to the test of a ballistic missile capable of carrying a half-tonne payload over 10,000 kilometers, the South Korean Defense Ministry said Sunday.

North Korea launched its three-stage Unha-3 rocket on December 12, insisting it was a purely scientific mission aimed at putting a polar-orbiting satellite in space.

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