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Poet Higgins Elected Ireland's Ninth President

Irish poet and human rights activist Michael D. Higgins was officially confirmed as his country's ninth president on Saturday with nearly 57 percent of the vote from elections this week.

The 70-year-old former culture minister for the Labor party, the junior partner in the coalition government in Dublin, staged a remarkable comeback to beat an ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness and a reality TV star.

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Iran Scoffs at U.S. 'Contradictions' in Dialogue Offer

Iran on Saturday dismissed a renewed U.S. offer of dialogue by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying the "contradictions" of pursuing talks at the same time as threats undermined the proposal.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi made the comment at a joint media conference in Tehran with the visiting leader of the autonomous Kurdish region in neighboring Iraq, Massud Barzani.

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75 Killed in Rebel Attack in South Sudan State

Seventy-five people were killed on Saturday when government forces in the oil-rich South Sudanese Unity state repelled an attack by rebel militia, in which 15 civilians also died, the state's information minister said.

"There was a militia attack at 5 or 6 o'clock in the morning (02:00-03:00 GMT) in Mayom county," said Gideon Gatpan Thoar, adding that another 18 were wounded.

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Serbia Arrests 17 Following Attack on U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo

Serbian police on Saturday said they had arrested 17 people in the southwestern Muslim-dominated district of Sandzak, on suspicion of links to an Islamic extremist who opened fire on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo.

"Police detained 17 persons suspected of being members of the radical Wahhabi movement and having close links with Mevlid Jasarevic," the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Wahhabism is a strict and ultra-conservative branch of Islam.

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Kenya to Stay in Somalia as Long as Necessary

Kenya vowed Saturday to keep troops in Somalia as long as needed to prevent attacks on its soil by the Islamist group Shebab and called for reinforcements in an increasingly regionalized conflict.

"When the Kenyan government and the people of this country feel they are safe enough we shall pull back," the country's military chief General Julius Karangi told journalists Saturday, refusing to put a timeline on the operation.

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Somalia's Shebab Attack Government Military Base in Capital

Fighters from Somalia's Shebab Islamist group attacked a government military base in Mogadishu Saturday, where a blast was followed by an exchange of gunfire, officials and witnesses said.

Enemy "elements attacked a Somali military base near the industrial road (north of the city center), but they were defeated and suffered losses", Colonel Abdallah Mohamed of the Western-backed government forces told Agence France Presse.

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Suicide Bomber Kills Two in Eastern Turkey

A woman blew herself up and killed two other people Saturday near a ruling party building in the eastern Turkish town of Bingol, the local governor told Agence France Presse.

The attack, the first of its kind in a year, took place near the provincial headquarters of the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), Mustafa Hakan Guvencer said.

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Search for Survivors Ends in Turkish Quake

With little hope of finding more people alive a week after the earthquake that rocked eastern Turkey, focus shifted Saturday to the plight of survivors stuck in tents in freezing rain and snow.

The United States was the latest country to offer help, with the Pentagon saying Friday that U.S. military aircraft were to begin delivering relief supplies from U.S. military bases in Europe.

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At Least 17 Dead in Attack on U.S. Convoy in Kabul

A Taliban car bomber struck a NATO convoy in the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing at least 17 people, including 13 Americans, in one of the deadliest attacks to hit foreign forces in more than a decade of war.

The attacker blew up his Toyota sedan next to a U.S.-run military bus travelling through the southwest of Kabul next to the Dar-ul-Aman palace ruins at 11:20 am (06:50 GMT), in the latest in a spate of high-profile attacks.

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Bangkok Floods to Ease in Early November

Floods engulfing parts of the Thai capital should start to recede soon, the prime minister said Saturday after barriers along Bangkok's swollen main river prevented a disastrous overflow.

The city of 12 million people was on heightened alert because of a seasonal high tide that was expected to coincide with the arrival of runoff water from the central plains, where people have endured weeks of flood misery.

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