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Panetta Calls North Korea 'Reckless,' Criticizes China

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday lashed out at North Korea for "reckless and provocative" acts and criticized China for a secretive expansion of its military power.

Panetta, who arrived at this U.S. air base on the second leg of a weeklong Asia tour, spoke out about North Korea and China in an opinion piece published Monday by Japan's Yomiuri newspaper before his arrival.

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NATO Says 200 Rebels Killed or Captured in Afghanistan

NATO said Monday that about 200 Taliban-linked militants had been killed or captured in major military operations by Afghan and foreign forces on Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan.

Hundreds of Afghan troops backed by the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) launched a major offensive focused on the troubled border last week, going after insurgents linked to the hardline Haqqani group.

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Insurgents Kill 7 in Thailand's Restive South

Suspected Muslim insurgents have killed seven people and injured 10 more in Thailand's violence-plagued south, police said on Monday.

Police Col. Kwandee Chimplee said assailants opened fire at a security checkpoint on Sunday night in Narathiwat city, then set off homemade bombs near two grocery stores in the same area.

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Philippines Launches Air Strikes on Rebels after Death of 35 People

The Philippines on Monday launched its first air strikes in three years against Muslim separatist rebels in the restless south, after a series of attacks that left 35 people dead, the military said.

Two OV-10 attack planes bombed a remote village on the edge of Payao town on Mindanao island, where Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels have been entrenched since last week, army spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc said.

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Report: Germany Arrested 'Retired' Russian Spies

The two Russian spies reportedly arrested in Germany were probably retired veterans from the Soviet era who were only used on rare occasions, a Moscow foreign intelligence official said on Monday.

Der Spiegel first reported that the couple had begun spying in Germany for the former Soviet KGB before being arrested last week in the first incident of its kind since the Cold War.

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N.Korea, U.S. Negotiators Begin Nuclear Talks in Geneva

North Korean and U.S. negotiators met on Monday for direct talks aimed at reviving long-stalled nuclear disarmament negotiations.

The U.S. team led by outgoing special representative Stephen Bosworth, as well as his replacement Glyn Davies arrived shortly before 8.30am (06:30 GMT) at the U.S. embassy where the meeting was to begin at 10.00am.

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Rice Book Recounts Threat to Quit over Disputes with Cheney

Condoleezza Rice says in a new book that she threatened to quit as president George W. Bush's national security advisor when she was cut out of a key decision on military trials for war-on-terror detainees, the New York Times wrote Sunday.

In her book "No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington," which arrives in bookstores next week, Rice describes a White House rife with discord, with repeated clashes between her and Vice President Dick Cheney over what to do about the detainees.

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Turkey Says 217 Dead in Quake, Victims Trapped

Rescuers scrambled through the rubble in a desperate search on Monday for survivors of an earthquake that killed at least 264 people in Turkey as residents fled the scenes of devastation.

People living in eastern Van province issued cries for help on Twitter, giving out the addresses of collapsed buildings and the number of people trapped under the debris, as hundreds of rescuers worked round the clock.

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14 Injured in Kenya Discotheque Attack Linked to Shebab Militants

A grenade was thrown into a discotheque in the Kenyan capital Nairobi early Monday injuring 14 people, all Kenyans, in an attack police linked with recent threats made by Somali Shebab insurgents.

"Yes, we are linking the grenade attack to the threats that have been issued by Shebab and that is why I am appealing to city residents to be vigilant and cooperate with our officers," Antony Kibuchi, provincial police chief for Nairobi, said.

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Kirchner Celebrates Re-election Landslide in Argentina

President Cristina Kirchner celebrated a landslide re-election victory in Argentine elections Sunday, giving an emotional speech a year after the death of her husband and political partner.

"I'm the first woman to be re-elected president. I don't want anything more," the center-left politician said to a rowdy crowd in a Buenos Aires hotel, after partial results gave her more than 53 percent.

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