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Strong 6.5 Earthquake Hits Solomon Islands

A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake shook the Solomon Islands Tuesday but there was no threat of a widespread destructive tsunami and no reports of damage, U.S. seismologists said.

The quake hit at 7:19 pm local time (08:19 GMT), 176 kilometers southeast of the capital Honiara at a depth of 54 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

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Russia Says 'Decision' on Iran Imminent

The head of Russia's army said Tuesday he expected a "decision" on Iran to be taken by Western powers this summer in response to Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

"Iran, of course, is a sore spot. Some sort of decision on it should be taken soon. It will probably be taken closer to the summer," Chief of Staff General Nikolai Makarov was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency.

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Khartoum Air Strike Hits South Sudan, Breaking Pact

Sudanese warplanes dropped several bombs wounding four soldiers in a contested area claimed by South Sudan, two days after agreeing to a non-aggression pact, Juba's military spokesman said Tuesday.

"Sudanese Armed Forces airplanes bombed the Jau area in Unity state on Sunday, wounding four of our soldiers," South Sudanese army spokesman Philip Aguer told Agence France Presse.

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New Maldives President Vows 'Peace and Order'

New Maldives president Mohammed Waheed pledged on Tuesday to restore "peace and order" as international pressure mounted on him to ease tensions in the island after his predecessor was ousted.

President Mohammed Waheed's office said he assured a visiting European delegation that he would form a "fully inclusive" cabinet, including members of former president's Mohammed Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

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Pirates Kill Captain, Engineer in Attack Off Nigeria

Pirates fired on a cargo ship around 110 nautical miles off the coast of Nigeria on Monday killing the captain and chief engineer, the International Maritime Bureau said.

"Armed pirates chased and fired upon a drifting bulk carrier. Vessel raised alarm and headed towards Lagos. All crew except the bridge team took shelter in the citadel," the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre said in a statement.

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NATO Chief to Visit Turkey for Talks on Afghanistan

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen will travel this week to Turkey where he will meet the country's leaders to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, a diplomat said Monday.

He will meet Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and will participate in a roundtable on Turkey-NATO relations, the Turkish source said.

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Azerbaijan Rejects Iran's Charges of Collusion with Israel

Azerbaijan on Monday rejected as "slander" Iranian claims that Baku has been collaborating with Israel's spy services and helping assassins who have killed Iranian nuclear scientists.

The Azerbaijani foreign ministry condemned a protest note given to its ambassador in Tehran which complained about the alleged collaboration. The note demanded that Baku prevent Mossad from carrying out anti-Iranian "activities" on its soil.

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Amsterdam Airport Evacuated after Bomb Threat

Airport police evacuated two terminals at Amsterdam's busy Schiphol Airport on Monday after receiving a bomb threat, a spokesman for the force said.

Officers evacuated two departure halls as they investigated the threat, said airport police spokesman Martijn Beelen. He gave no further details of the threat.

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China Envoy Urges Talks between Iran, World Powers

A senior Chinese envoy on Monday urged Iran and world powers to quickly resume stalled talks over Tehran's suspect nuclear program, and called for better cooperation between the Islamic state and the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Assistant foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu made the appeals at the end of a two-day visit to Tehran during which he spoke with Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri, Iranian state television reported.

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Taliban Announce Death of ex-Defense Minister

The Taliban's former defense minister died in a Pakistani jail in 2010, a spokesman for the insurgent group said Monday.

Little had been heard of Obaidullah Akhund since he was arrested by Pakistani authorities in 2007.

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