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U.S. Slams Russia 'Harassment' of Opposition Figures

The United States on Monday voiced concern after Russian police raided the homes of top protest leaders ahead of a planned mass rally in Moscow against President Vladimir Putin.

"The United States is deeply concerned by the apparent harassment of Russian political opposition figures on the eve of the planned demonstrations on June 12," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

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U.N. Names U.S. Diplomat Feltman as New Political Chief

U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon on Monday named Jeffrey Feltman, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, as his new political affairs chief.

Feltman has just stood down as U.S. assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs. In his new position he will help form U.N. policy and mediation efforts on the Middle East peace process and other conflicts.

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Global Powers Prepare for Moscow Talks on Iran

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met senior officials from world powers on Monday to prepare for talks in Moscow this month on Tehran's contested nuclear drive.

Ashton and officials from the so-called P5+1 group -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- met in a Strasbourg hotel "to prepare the ground for the negotiations in Moscow," an EU spokesman said.

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U.S. Pulls NATO Supply Route Negotiators Out of Pakistan

The United States has withdrawn negotiators from Pakistan after talks failed to produce an agreement on reopening vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Monday.

"The decision was reached to bring the team home for a short period of time," Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters.

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Toulouse Killer Merah's Father Files Murder Suit

The father of al-Qaida-inspired gunman Mohamed Merah, who was shot dead by French police in March after going on a killing spree, has filed a murder suit in Paris, his lawyers said Monday.

"This is a suit against unnamed persons for murder with aggravating circumstances concerning those who gave the orders at the top of the police" during the assault on Merah's flat in Toulouse, said lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre.

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Afghan Quakes Kill at Least Three

Two earthquakes destroyed dozens of mud homes in Afghanistan's mountainous Hindu Kush region on Monday, killing at least three people and trapping others under rubble, officials said.

Rescue teams were making their way to the remote Burka district in the northern province of Baghlan where around 20 houses had collapsed, the head of Afghanistan's natural disaster department, Samim Afzali, told Agance France Press.

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Defense Seeks Karadzic Acquittal, Says No Genocide in Bosnia

Radovan Karadzic and his lawyers on Monday asked the Yugoslav war crimes court to acquit the former Bosnian Serb leader on all counts, arguing that no genocide took place in Bosnia in 1992.

"Dr. Karadzic requests a judgment of acquittal pursuant to rule 98bis for counts one to 11," said his lawyer Peter Robinson at a public hearing at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

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Swiss Query Suspect in French Political Corruption Scandal

A key suspect in the French illegal political funding scandal known as the "Karachi Affair" has been questioned by investigators in Geneva, Swiss prosecutors said Monday.

Abdulrahman el-Assir, a Lebanese-born businessman subject to a French arrest warrant issued last November, was questioned on May 30 but was not placed in detention, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said.

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France Says Risk of 'Terrorists' Setting Up in Mali

There is a risk of "terrorist" groups setting up in the deserts of northern Mali, French President Francois Hollande warned Monday after talks with Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou in Paris.

"There is a threat of terrorist groups setting up in northern Mali. There is outside intervention that is destabilizing Mali and setting up groups whose vocation goes well beyond Mali, in Africa and perhaps beyond," Hollande said.

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Three Dead in Pakistan Bomb Blast

Three bus passengers were killed and 12 others injured when a bomb planted in a parked motorbike exploded in Pakistan's insurgency-hit province of Baluchistan on Monday, officials said.

The motorbike fitted with explosives had been left on the road linking the provincial capital Quetta with Iran, senior government official Naseebullah Bazai told Agence France Presse.

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