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Hopes Fade for Missing in Russia Rig Accident, 7 Bodies Pulled Out

Hope was running out Monday for scores of oil workers missing for more than a day in remote, freezing waters off Russia's east coast after their floating platform capsized and sank during a severe storm.

Maria Dubrovskya, spokeswoman for the Emergencies Ministry in Russia's Far East, said rescue workers have pulled out seven bodies from the Sea of Okhotsk. Russian news agencies are reporting that more bodies have been seen in the water, but the rescue team has not been able to retrieve them.

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Report: U.S. in Talks with Europe, Arabs on Iran Oil Embargo

The United States, its European allies and key Arab states are intensifying talks on how to maintain stability in the global energy markets in case of a formal embargo on Iran's oil exports and its central bank, The Wall Street Journal reported late Sunday.

Citing unnamed U.S. and European officials, the newspaper said such an embargo would constitute the most direct economic confrontation yet between Iran and the West.

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Karzai Says Afghans Negotiating Long-Term U.S. Presence

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that his government is negotiating the terms of a long-term U.S. presence in his country that could involve U.S. troops.

The United States is withdrawing 10,000 troops this year, leaving 91,000 on the ground into next year. Another 23,000 are due to leave by the end of September.

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Pakistan's President Zardari Returns Home

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari returned home on Monday following medical treatment in Dubai, an official said, nearly a fortnight after leaving the country in the midst of a major scandal.

A special flight carrying Zardari, his daughter and personal staff landed at an air force base in the port city of Karachi, the home minister of Sindh province, Manzoor Wasan, told Agence France Presse.

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U.S. 'Closely Monitoring' Kim’s Death

The United States was Sunday "closely monitoring" reports on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's death and said it was committed to stability on the Korean peninsula and the security of its allies.

Kim's death, announced by North Korea's official media, posed an immediate and grave foreign policy crisis for Washington and its allies, given Pyongyang's history of belligerence and its nuclear arsenal.

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N. Korean Leader Kim Jong-Il Dies at 69

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has died aged 69 of a heart attack, state media announced Monday, plunging the impoverished but nuclear-armed nation into uncertainty amid a second dynastic succession.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the leader "passed away from a great mental and physical strain" at 8:30 am on Saturday (23:30 GMT Friday), while on a train for one of his "field guidance" tours.

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Iran TV Shows 'CIA Spy' Speaking of Alleged Mission

An alleged CIA agent being held in Tehran is a U.S. citizen of Iranian origin, state television said Sunday in a report showing the young man confessing to his "mission" to infiltrate the intelligence ministry.

The channel named him as Amir Mirzai Hekmati and said he was an American of Iranian descent, born in the U.S. state of Arizona.

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Tens of Thousands of Pakistanis Rally against U.S., NATO

Tens of thousands gathered in one of the biggest-ever protests in the Pakistani city of Lahore Sunday to condemn NATO and United States over the killing of 24 soldiers along the Afghan border.

The protestors, mainly from Islamist groups and political parties, vowed they would march to the capital Islamabad if the government did not cancel agreements with the U.S. designed to fight terrorism.

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Bin Laden’s Killing Voted Top News Story of 2011

The killing of Osama bin Laden during a raid by Navy SEALs on his hideout in Pakistan was the top news story of 2011, followed by Japan's earthquake/tsunami disaster, according to The Associated Press' annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors.

The death of bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader who masterminded the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, received 128 first-place votes out of 247 ballots cast for the top 10 stories. The Japan disaster was next, with 60 first-place votes. Placing third were the Arab Spring uprisings that rocked North Africa and the Middle East, while the European Union's financial turmoil was No. 4.

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20 Injured in Grenade Attack in Southeast Afghanistan

At least 20 people were wounded when a man threw grenades at a police vehicle in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, an official said.

Grenade attacks are relatively uncommon in Afghanistan but it was the second time in less than 48 hours that police have been targeted in such a way.

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