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French Minister Resigns Over Favoritism Probe in Fresh Blow to Hollande

A junior French minister resigned on Friday as a scandal implicating him in the awarding of lucrative public contracts to members of his family hit President Francois Hollande's Socialist government with another bruising.

Kader Arif, a junior minister for veteran affairs, became the latest member of Hollande's government to step down under a cloud of suspicion in what has been a year of political and personal calamities for the most unpopular French president in modern history.

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German Hoarded Guns in Bunker 'Fearing Russia Attack'

German police said Friday they had arrested a man who hoarded guns, ammunition and bomb-making material in a nuclear-proof family bunker he built fearing an attack by Russia.

The 59-year-old electrician had constructed the emergency shelter by expanding and reinforcing the basement of his family home in Kelheim in the southern state of Bavaria.

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White House: Obama to Visit India in January

U.S. President Barack Obama will travel to India in January for its Republic Day celebrations, and talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the White House said Friday.

"The president will meet with the prime minister and Indian officials to strengthen and expand the U.S.-India strategic partnership," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

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Slovakia Says Freed Guantanamo Inmates 'Pose No Risk'

The Guantanamo Bay prisoners released to Slovakia as part of efforts to empty the controversial U.S. military detention center pose no security risk, the Slovak interior ministry said Friday.

The two men, a Yemeni and a Tunisian, arrived in Slovakia on Thursday after being held at the prison facility in Cuba for more than a decade without charge or trial.

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Dutch Re-Arrest Qaida Suspect for U.S. Extradition

Dutch authorities have re-arrested a Dutch-Pakistani Al-Qaida suspect wanted by the United States, saying on Friday that all obstacles in his long-running extradition case had been cleared.

"Sabir K. was detained again last (Thursday) night on the order of the public prosecutor's office for extradition to the United States," the office said in a statement.

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Woman With Handgun Arrested at White House

A 23-year-old woman armed with a handgun was arrested outside the White House late Thursday, U.S. Secret Service officials said.

In a statement released Friday, the Secret Service identified the woman as April Lenhart of Mount Morris, Michigan.

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British Phone-Hacking Editor Andy Coulson Freed From Prison

Andy Coulson, the former British newspaper editor and one-time communications chief of Prime Minister David Cameron, was released from prison on Friday after serving his sentence for phone-hacking, the justice ministry said.

Coulson served less than five months of the 18-month sentence handed down at the Old Bailey in July after he was found guilty of conspiring to intercept voice-mails at the now-defunct Sunday News of the World tabloid.

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Zambia Ruling Party Suspends Acting President Scott

Zambia's governing Patriotic Front party on Friday suspended Guy Scott from the party, weeks after he took over as interim president of the country following the death of Michael Sata last month.

Scott will however remain acting president of the country.

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Urgent Action Needed to Avoid Nigeria Poll Violence, Says Crisis Group

Nigeria's general election is on track to be "volatile and vicious", the International Crisis Group (ICG) said Friday, warning that "an increasingly violent" political climate must be checked to avoid widespread unrest.

The concern came a day after police fired teargas inside parliament, apparently targeting one of the country's most powerful lawmakers, who defected from the ruling party to the opposition last month.

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8 Killed, 2 Wounded in Romania Military Helicopter Crash

A Romanian military helicopter flying to take part in a joint exercise with U.S. forces crashed on Friday, killing eight servicemen on board and injuring two, the defense ministry said.

The Romanian-built IAR-330 Puma helicopter came down near the central town of Malancrav, a ministry official told AFP. An investigation has been opened into the crash.

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