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Dalai Lama Prays for Peaceful End to Hong Kong Standoff

The Dalai Lama said he was praying Thursday for a peaceful resolution to the stand-off between pro-democracy demonstrators and security forces in Hong Kong but said the outcome was "very difficult" to predict.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who has lived in exile ever since Chinese forces crushed a failed uprising in his homeland in 1959, told Agence France-Presse he was closely watching the situation unfolding in downtown Hong Kong.

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Armenia Says Azerbaijani Troops Killed Karabakh Soldier

Azerbaijani troops have killed an ethnic Armenian soldier in the disputed Nagorny Karabakh territory, officials in Yerevan said on Thursday.

"The Karabakh army soldier, David Navasardyan, died of fatal wounds after Azerbaijani forces opened fire on October 1 on the Karabakh frontline," Armenia's defense ministry spokesman, Artsrun Hovhannisyan, told Agence France-Presse.

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15 Dead in Bulgaria Explosives Blast

Fifteen people were confirmed dead on Thursday in a blast that flattened a Bulgarian explosives decommissioning plant near the northwestern village of Gorni Lom the previous day, officials said.

"Thirteen men and two women perished. The blast was so powerful that it left craters," civil defense force director Nikolay Nikolov said, adding that the cause was probably "human error."

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Myanmar News Website Hacked over Muslim 'Support'

A popular Myanmar news website was blocked by hackers angry at its description of hardline Buddhist monks as "radical", a message on the site said Thursday, accusing the publication of defending Muslims.

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Legal Woes, Rivals Hamper Sarkozy's Political Comeback

Announced with much fanfare two weeks ago, the return of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy to front-line politics has quickly become bogged down by legal woes and sniping from rivals.

Putting an end to one of the worst-kept secrets in France, Sarkozy announced on his Facebook page on September 19 that he was running for the head of his conservative UMP party to offer disenchanted voters a "new political choice."

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Boko Haram Leader Dismisses Claims of his Death in New Video

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau dismissed Nigerian military claims of his death in a new video obtained by AFP on Thursday and said the militants had implemented strict Islamic law in captured towns.

"Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath," Shekau said, adding that his group was "running our... Islamic caliphate" and administering strict sharia punishments.

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Dalai Lama in 'Informal' Talks to Return to Tibet

The Dalai Lama indicated Thursday he was in informal talks with China to make a historic pilgrimage to Tibet after more than half a century in exile.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said he had "made clear" his desire to undertake the pilgrimage to a sacred mountain in his homeland to contacts in China, including retired Communist Party officials.

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Five Swiss Dead in French Chopper Crash

Five Swiss people died and two more were injured on Thursday when their helicopter crashed in France, only a few meters away from a house, French officials said.

The EC130 helicopter came down in the garden of a suburban house near the city of Montbeliard, some 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the Swiss border, French police said.

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Bomb on Passenger Coach Kills Seven in Pakistan

A bomb blast on a passenger coach in northwest Pakistan on Thursday killed at least seven people and wounded another six, police said.

The bomb was planted beneath a passenger seat and exploded in the outskirts of Peshawar, the region's main city, while the bus was en route to the town of Hangu.

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Karadzic was 'Unaware' of Srebrenica Massacre

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic "did not know" of the 1995 massacre of thousands of Muslims at Srebrenica, his lawyer said Thursday, seeking an acquittal in his genocide trial.

"There is not a single piece of evidence that Dr Karadzic planned or ordered the execution of prisoners (at Srebrenica), or that he knew about it," his legal advisor Peter Robinson told the Hague-based U.N. Yugoslav war crimes court.

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