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FARC: Colombia Peace Talks to Start October 15

Talks between Colombia's government and the leftist FARC rebels -- aimed at ending one of Latin America's oldest conflicts -- are set to begin on October 15, the group said Monday.

The statement sent to reporters in Havana, Cuba, where the parties met to negotiate the terms of the peace talks also said "the national government and the FARC ... will make a public announcement on October 17 in the city of Oslo, Norway."

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Maldivian Ruling Party MP Assassinated in Capital

An unidentified attacker stabbed and killed a Maldivian ruling party legislator Tuesday in the first assassination of a lawmaker in the Indian Ocean archipelago, police said.

Afrasheem Ali, 46, a lawmaker from the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), was attacked on the steps of his apartment in the capital island Male early Tuesday, police spokesman Hassan Haneef told AFP.

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N. Korea Drops Propaganda Leaflets over Border

North Korea has dropped thousands of propaganda leaflets attacking South Korea across their heavily militarized border for the second time this year, the South's defense ministry said Tuesday.

South Korean soldiers have collected about 17,000 leaflets, which were floated by balloon over the frontier on Saturday, a ministry spokesman said.

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Crew Held after 37 Die in Hong Kong Ferry Disaster

Six crew members were arrested Tuesday over a collision between a ferry and a pleasure boat in Hong Kong that killed 37 people in the city's worst maritime disaster in decades, officials said.

More than 120 passengers and crew were on the Hong Kong Electric company's vessel to watch a huge National Day fireworks display in Victoria Harbor Monday evening when the collision occurred near Lamma island.

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Georgia Opposition Chief Declares Victory in Parliamentary Polls

Georgia's billionaire-led coalition was leading President Mikheil Saakashvili's ruling party in parliamentary elections Monday according to exit polls, but it was unclear which will win the final majority.

Two separate exit polls for Georgian television gave preliminary figures putting tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition ahead in the proportional-vote section of the contest by five or 10 percent.

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Cambodia Jails Political Activist for 20 Years

A prominent critic of Cambodia's government was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday for an alleged secessionist plot, dismaying rights campaigners who decried the verdict as politically motivated.

Radio station owner Mam Sonando, who has dual Cambodian-French citizenship, was also fined 10 million riel ($2,500) by a Phnom Penh court which convicted him on charges including insurrection and inciting people to take up arms against the state.

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Japan Resumes Reactor Work Suspended since Fukushima Disaster

A Japanese power firm on Monday resumed construction of an atomic reactor stalled since the disaster at Fukushima, despite government plans to phase out nuclear power.

Electric Power Development, known as J-Power, said it had gone back to work on the plant in the country's north after getting the green light when the government announced its new energy policy aims last month.

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Turkish Parliament Opens as Clashes with Kurdish Rebels Flare

The Turkish parliament began a new legislative session Monday in a climate dominated by tough discussions on a new and more democratic constitution and renewed clashes between Kurdish rebels and security forces.

During his traditional speech opening the national assembly's session President Abdullah Gul called on members of the parliament not to "fall into the trap of terrorism", arising from the recent spike in attacks by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the southeast of the country, and abandon democratic progress in Turkey.

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Boko Haram Chief Issues Video Threat over Anti-Islam Film

The suspected leader of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has issued a threat in a YouTube video over a U.S.-made anti-Islam film that has sparked widespread protests in the Muslim world.

"First, insults against the prophet, evil plots against him, making blasphemous movies against him, all these will do no harm to Islam," Abubakar Shekau says in the video which appears to have been posted on Sunday.

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U.S. Would Back 'Well Planned' African-Led Force for Mali

The United States would support a "well planned" and "well resourced" African-led force to help oust Islamic rebels in northern Mali, provided its neighbors back the idea, a U.S. official said Monday.

"Yes, I say there will have to be at some point military action to push" the rebels linked to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb out of northern Mali, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Johnnie Carson, said.

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