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Chavez Twitter Messages Say he Will Survive Cancer

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez assured supporters in a flurry of Twitter messages from Cuba Saturday that he was recovering well from surgery to remove a potentially cancerous lesion.

He underwent surgery on the same area of his pelvis where a cancerous tumor was removed last June.

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Fifteen Killed, 60 Injured in Polish Train Crash

Rescue workers toiled overnight to pull survivors from the wreckage of a head-on train crash in southern Poland as the death toll rose to 15 on Sunday, in one of the country's worst rail disasters.

"We know that 15 people are dead. Unfortunately we have not yet been able to remove the body of the last victim. We can see it but not get to it," Pawel Fratczak, a spokesman for the emergency services in Szczekociny told AFP

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Russians Vote as Putin Seeks Return to Presidency

Russians started voting Sunday in presidential polls likely to return strongman Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin for a record third term amid protests unseen since the Soviet era.

Voters in the far east of the world's largest country began casting their ballots at 2000 GMT in a marathon election straddling nine time zones which will close in the western exclave of Kaliningrad 21 hours later at 1700 GMT.

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Strong 6.6 Quake Hits New Caledonia

A strong 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia late Saturday but there was no tsunami alert, seismologists said.

The quake struck 260 kilometers east-southeast of the town of Tadine on the island of Mare at 11:19 pm local time (12:19 GMT) at a relatively shallow depth of 15 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

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French Minister under Fire again for 'Racist' Remarks

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant, a hardliner close to President Nicolas Sarkozy, came under fire again Saturday for the second time in a month for comments deemed racist by liberals.

At a meeting late Friday in support of Sarkozy's bid for a new term as president, Gueant condemned proposals by the president's socialist opponent Francois Hollande to give the vote in local elections to immigrants.

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Hong Kong Protest over Chief Executive Election

Thousands of pro-democracy activists took to the streets of Hong Kong Saturday demanding universal suffrage and expressing anger at the city's system of choosing its chief executive.

The protesters walked through the center of the southern Chinese city to government headquarters, brandishing banners and chanting slogans including "no small circle election" and "give me direct elections", local TV news showed.

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Three Suspected Nigerian Islamists Killed in Explosion

Three suspected members of the Boko Haram sect were killed while assembling bombs in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri, considered the group's stronghold, an army spokesman said Saturday.

The explosion in the Kaleri suburb of the northern city on Friday destroyed a house and dismembered the three Islamist sect members, Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Mohammed of the special military unit in Maiduguri said.

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Berlin Fears Imminent Execution of Iranian Pastor

born Christian pastor, sentenced to death, whose execution Berlin fears is imminent.

"At the request of Minister (Guido) Westerwelle, the Iranian ambassador was summoned yesterday (Friday) to the foreign ministry for the German government to convey its deep concern over the fate of Christian pastor Yusuf Nadarkhani and to demand his immediate release," a spokeswoman said.

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Japan Prime Minister: No Individual to Blame for Fukushima

No individual can be held responsible for the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima, Japan's prime minister said Saturday, insisting everyone had to "share the pain".

Yoshihiko Noda told foreign journalists in Tokyo that the Japanese establishment had been taken in by the "myth of safety" around nuclear power and was unprepared for a disaster on the scale of last March's accident.

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13 Wounded in Arizona Nightclub Shooting

Thirteen people were wounded when gunfire erupted during a rap music concert at a nightclub in Tempe in the U.S. state of Arizona, police said early Saturday.

"At this point, Tempe police officers and detectives have identified 13 shooting victims from the incident," Tempe Police Department spokesman Sergeant Steve Carbajal said in a statement.

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