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Three More Europeans Abducted, One Killed in Mali

An armed gang of kidnappers abducted three Europeans and killed a fourth in the Timbuktu region of northern Mali, security sources said on Friday.

The victim who was shot dead had tried to resist his abduction, according to the sources who did not give the nationality of the hostages.

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Poland Plans its First Atomic Power Plant on Baltic

Poland's first nuclear power plant, due to come on line by 2020, is set to be located near the Baltic Sea, Polish energy group PGE said on Friday.

Three potential sites near the coast, at Zarnowiec, Choczewo and Gaski, were picked from around a hundred proposed locations, PGE chief Tomasz Zadroga told reporters.

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French Soldiers in Mali Area where Hostages Seized

French soldiers joined the Mali army Friday in the hunt for two French geologists who were kidnapped by an armed gang this week, an Agence France Presse journalist reported.

The two hostages were seized from their hotel in the eastern village of Hombori near the border with Niger early Thursday, in an assault bearing the hallmark of al-Qaida linked Islamist militants.

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Four Killed in Mogadishu Explosion

Three Somali soldiers and a civilian were killed Friday when a roadside bomb the officers picked up to detonate elsewhere exploded inside their vehicle, officials and witnesses said.

The soldiers picked up the device at a road intersection in Mogadishu's Bakara district and moments later it ripped apart their vehicle, also killing one civilian and injuring four others who were nearby.

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Russia Sets Presidential Poll for March 4

The upper house of Russia's parliament on Friday formally set March 4, 2012 as the date for the presidential election, a vote expected to see Vladimir Putin return to the top job.

"The elections for the president of Russia are set for March 4, 2012," the Federation Council said in a statement on its website after senators approved the date in a vote called for under the constitution.

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Death, Destruction in Central Nigeria Sectarian Clashes

Clashes between Muslim and Christian ethnic groups in central Nigeria on Thursday caused "enormous" destruction, with a number of people dead and houses burned, a military officer said.

Captain Charles Ekeocha said the army had imposed a 24-hour curfew on the Barkin Ladi area of Plateau state after the clashes, the latest in a series of violent incidents between the two communities.

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10 Afghan Guards Killed in Taliban Ambush on NATO Convoy

At least 10 Afghan security guards were killed Thursday when Taliban militants ambushed a logistics convoy destined for U.S.-led NATO forces in western Afghanistan, a local official said.

The guards were securing the convoy when they came under attack in Bakwa district of Farah province, on the main highway connecting the west to the volatile south, said Naqibullah Farahi, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

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Two French Citizens Kidnapped in Mali

A gang of armed men kidnapped two French nationals from their hotel in northeastern Mali overnight, local security sources told Agence France Presse on Thursday.

The two geologists were seized by seven men from their hotel in the village of Hombori, the sources said, in the latest abduction of foreigners in the restive country where al-Qaida militants are active.

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Kenyan Troops Wounded in Border Blast

A Kenyan soldier was killed and four seriously wounded Thursday when an explosive device blew up their truck close to the border with war-torn Somalia, an army spokesman said.

"Five KDF (Kenya Defense Force) soldiers were seriously injured and have been airlifted to Garissa for treatment," Major Emmanuel Chirchir said, adding that one later "succumbed to his injuries."

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Ex-Slovak Minister Kubis to Head U.N. Afghan Mission

The United Nations on Wednesday named former Slovak foreign minister Jan Kubis as new head of the key U.N. mission in Afghanistan.

Kubis, 59, will take over the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on January 1 aiming to boost international political efforts in the conflict-stricken country as the United States and other countries start to withdraw troops.

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