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17 Civilians Beheaded in Southern Afghanistan

Seventeen civilians including two women were beheaded in a southern Afghanistan village in a region plagued by the Taliban insurgency, officials said Monday.

"Last night 17 local villagers, two women and 15 men, were beheaded by unknown people in Kajaki district," Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Helmand provincial administration, told Agence France Presse.

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Dozens Killed in Sudan's South Kordofan

Sustained fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state has killed several dozen government troops and five rebels, the insurgents claimed on Sunday after the army said it repulsed them.

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) said "fighting is still continuing inside Al Moreib," a village in Rashad district of northeastern South Kordofan.

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Kabul Says U.S. Killed Top Haqqani Militant in Pakistan

Afghanistan's spy agency said Sunday that the operational commander of the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network responsible for spectacular attacks on Kabul had been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan.

"We confirm that Badruddin Haqqani, who was the mastermind of almost all sophisticated attacks in Kabul, was killed in a drone strike," National Directorate of Security spokesman Lutfullah Mashal told Agence France Presse.

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Military Rescues 27 Kidnapped Oil Workers in Nigeria

Nigerian military forces stormed the hideout of a militant gang operating on the waters of oil-producing Cross River State and rescued 27 abducted oil workers, a navy spokesman said Sunday.

"It was a joint military operation involving the navy and the army. Twenty-seven oil workers were rescued on Friday, while one is still missing," Lt. Commander Ajibola Olabisi told Agence France Presse.

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Clinton's Planned Pacific Trip 'Sends Message to China'

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to make a rare foray to the South Pacific this week, in a move analysts say is aimed at curbing China's growing influence among the region's small island nations.

While Clinton's previous trips to the area have focused on Canberra and Wellington, this time she is expected to visit the Cook Islands, a nation of just 11,000 people whose 15 islands cover an area barely larger than Washington DC.

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Australia Reopens Probe of 1982 Anti-Israel Bombings

Australian police Sunday reopened inquiries into the 1982 bombing of the Israeli consulate in Sydney and a Jewish club, reportedly after interviewing an extremist jailed over a blast on a Pan Am flight that year.

No one was killed but two people were injured in the attacks on the consulate and the Jewish Hakoah sports club in Bondi on December 23, 1982 -- crimes that have gone unsolved for almost 30 years.

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Ecuador President Believes Dispute with Britain Resolved

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa said he believed his country had overcome a diplomatic spat with Britain over its threat to enter the Ecuadoran Embassy in London in order to arrest Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

"We believe that this unfortunate incident is over," said Correa. "It was a mistake for the British Foreign Office to say that they would enter our embassy."

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Tropical Storm Isaac Delays U.S. Republican Convention

A strengthening Tropical Storm Isaac barreled toward Florida and was predicted to become a hurricane on Sunday, forcing a one-day delay to the main events of the Republican convention, after leaving four people dead in Haiti.

With winds reaching 65 miles (100 kilometers) per hour, the storm left Haiti and swept across Cuba late Saturday, with the Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center reporting it would probably reach Florida later in the day.

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Iran Seeks NAM Support in Nuclear Showdown

Non-Aligned Movement leaders should take a stand against Western sanctions at a Tehran summit at the end of the month, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Sunday, adding that many NAM members backed Iran's nuclear program.

"The NAM... should seriously confront unilateral sanctions of certain nations against some members of the NAM," Salehi said in a speech opening days of preparatory meetings for the summit on Thursday and Friday.

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N. Korea's Kim Threatens War over U.S.-S. Korea Drill

North Korea's leader has warned of an "all-out" war against the South while denouncing its ongoing joint military drill with the United States, state media said Sunday.

The U.S. and South Korean militaries on Monday began a two-week exercise aimed at testing defenses against the communist North, insisting it was defensive in nature but Pyongyang called it a drill for a preemptive nuclear attack.

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