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Gunmen Kidnap 8 Pakistanis Working for U.S. Charity

Gunmen have kidnapped eight local staff working for a U.S. charity near the Afghan border in southwest Pakistan, which is rife with insurgency and sectarian violence, officials said Tuesday.

Government officials said the American Refugee Committee (ARC) workers were kidnapped on Monday in Pishin district, about 50 kilometers north of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province.

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Pakistan Drone Crashes near Oil Refinery

A Pakistani surveillance navy drone crashed near an oil refinery after hitting a bird on a routine flight, coming down in the country's largest city of Karachi on Tuesday, the navy said.

"A Pakistan Navy UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) crashed after a bird hit it. It fell near an oil refinery and there was no (other) damage," Commodore Irfan Ul Haq, spokesman Pakistan Navy told Agence France Presse in Islamabad.

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Dalai Lama Says He Will Decide Successor

Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has insisted that he will guide the choice of his successor, saying China's plans to control the selection of the Buddhist leader were "ridiculous."

The Dalai Lama on Monday headed back to his home in exile in India after a nearly two-week visit to the United States. President Barack Obama welcomed him Saturday at the White House, leading China to lodge a protest.

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Four Dead in Attack on China Police Station

At least four people were killed when a crowd attacked a police station Monday in the latest bout of deadly unrest in China's restive Xinjiang region, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The dead included two security officers and two people who had been taken hostage in the incident in the remote city of Hotan, it said.

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U.N. Court Orders Thai and Cambodian Troop Withdrawal

The U.N.'s highest court Monday ordered Thailand and Cambodia to immediately withdraw their troops from a disputed area around an ancient temple on the border between the two Asian neighbors.

"Both parties should immediately withdraw their military personnel currently present in the provisional demilitarized zone and refrain from any military presence within that zone," said the order, read by International Court of Justice president Judge Hisashi Owada at a sitting in The Hague.

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Four Russian Police Killed in Cacauses Violence

Four Russian policemen were killed and nine others wounded Monday in two separate blasts in Russia's restive North Caucasus, news agencies quoted local law enforcement officials as saying.

Two policemen were killed and seven injured in the wooded mountains of restive Chechnya, Interfax quoted a law enforcement official as saying.

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Petraeus Steps Down in Afghanistan

General David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan and most celebrated military leader of his generation, stepped down on Monday after a checkered year at the helm of what is America's longest war.

At a ceremony in Kabul Petraeus passed the baton to John Allen, a former subordinate who made his name in Iraq by striking tribal alliances considered integral in reversing al-Qaida's momentum after years of appalling violence.

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Taliban Claim Killing of Key Karzai Adviser

The Taliban on Monday claimed the overnight killing of one of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's key advisers, who died along with a lawmaker in an attack on his home in Kabul.

Jan Mohammad Khan, the former governor of southern Uruzgan province and a key ally of the embattled president, was killed along with an MP for Uruzgan.

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British Police Chief Quits over Phone-Hacking Scandal

The resignation of Britain's top policeman over the phone-hacking scandal rocking Rupert Murdoch's media empire threatens to drag leader David Cameron further into the mire, newspapers said Monday.

Scotland Yard Chief Sir Paul Stephenson quit on Sunday over claims he stayed at a luxury resort with links to Murdoch's realm but the top-cop aimed a parting shot at Prime Minister Cameron over his ties with ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson.

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Transition from Foreign to Afghan Security Forces Begins

The process of handing control from foreign to Afghan security forces began in Afghanistan on Sunday, a spokesman for the interior ministry said.

A ceremony was held at the police headquarters in the central province of Bamiyan, the first of seven areas to transition responsibility this month, ministry spokesman Siddiq Siddiqi.

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