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New EU Sanctions Target over 100 Iranian Firms

The European Union on Thursday agreed to sanction more than 100 Iranian companies, sharply expanding the number of firms hit by an assets freeze over Iran's disputed nuclear program.

Diplomats said the "significant expansion" in EU sanctions was expected to be approved and announced Monday by the bloc's 27 foreign ministers.

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Ex-Irish Premier Garret FitzGerald Dies after Illness

Former Irish prime minister Garret FitzGerald, who signed a landmark agreement on Northern Ireland in the 1980s, has died in a Dublin hospital after a short illness, his family said Thursday. He was 85.

FitzGerald served twice as Taoiseach, or prime minister, at the head of Fine Gael-Labor coalitions in 1981-82 and 1982-87, during which he signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement with British premier Margaret Thatcher in 1985.

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Turkey Seeks New U.N. Security Council Mandate

Turkey announced Thursday that it is seeking a new term on the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member.

In a statement, Turkey's foreign ministry said it was seeking membership for 2015-2016.

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22 Dead in Argentina Plane Crash

A small commercial plane crashed in an isolated part of Patagonia in southern Argentina late Wednesday, killing all 22 people on board, officials said.

"We did not find anyone alive. There were no survivors. The plane is in multiple charred fragments. Everything is burnt and smashed to pieces," said local hospital director Ismael Ali, who participated in the rescue mission.

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Strauss-Kahn Resigns, Vows to Prove Innocence

Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned Thursday as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), saying he did so with great regret but must focus entirely on clearing his name of sexual assault charges.

"I want to protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion, and especially -- especially -- I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence," he said.

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13 Dead, 20 Hurt in Afghan Police Bus Bombing

Thirteen people were killed and 20 others hurt Wednesday in a suicide car bombing against a police bus in eastern Afghanistan claimed by the Taliban, a provincial spokesman said.

"Unfortunately, 13 people have been killed and 20 others injured in a suicide attack that targeted a police minivan today," said provincial spokesman Abdul Zia Ahmadzai.

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Medvedev Warns West of Cold War, Ambiguous Over Presidential Ambitions

President Dmitry Medvedev warned Wednesday Russia could pull out a new nuclear disarmament treaty and enter a new Cold War with the West if the two sides failed to agree on a new missile defense shield.

Medvedev told reporters that the United States' decision to push ahead with the European shield despite Russia's objections will force Moscow "to take response measures -- something that we would very much rather not do."

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11 Killed at Violent Protests over Afghan Deaths

At least 11 people were killed and more than 50 others injured on Wednesday in violent Afghan demonstrations over the deaths of four people in a NATO raid, an official said.

"Now we have 11 dead and over 50 other people admitted with injuries to hospital," acting provincial health director, Hassan Basij, told Agence France Presse.

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Obama Seeks Clarity in 'Arab Spring' Speech

U.S. President Barack Obama will Thursday seek to sketch a plausible policy response to the sudden, complex and often contradictory demands thrown up by an "Arab Spring" of popular revolt.

In a major speech, Obama will seek to quell domestic criticism and uncertainty in the Middle East and North Africa about the exact nature of U.S. policy.

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Taliban Attack Kills 2 Policemen, Wounds 5 in Pakistan

Two policemen were killed and five others were wounded Wednesday when dozens of Taliban militants attacked a Pakistan police check post in the northwestern capital Peshawar, police said.

Police said they had initially repelled an attack by a group of armed Taliban on a security check post in Sarband, a suburban area of Peshawar around midnight (19:00 GMT Tuesday).

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