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Reports: Iran Gas Pipeline Explodes

A gas pipeline exploded on Friday in central Iran near the Shiite holy city of Qom, without causing casualties or disrupting gas supplies, media reports said.

The official IRNA news agency said the blast occurred near Salafchegan, a special free economic zone southwest of Qom. It did not say what caused the explosion.

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Army Throws Weight behind Mubarak Plan, 3 Officers Join Protesters

The Egyptian army threw its weight behind President Hosni Mubarak on Friday while trying to reassure anti-regime protesters that it will ensure he follows through with democratic reforms.

Egyptian state television interrupted programming to read out "communique number two" by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, headed by Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi.

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Clashes between South Sudan Army, Rebels Kill 105

Clashes between rebels and south Sudanese troops in troubled Jonglei state have killed 105 people, a southern army spokesman said on Friday, a dramatic jump from an earlier death toll of 16.

The death toll from the fighting in Fangak town on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, adds to an earlier toll of at least 16 dead from clashes between southern troops and the rebels in the Door area of Fangak county.

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Ahmadinejad on Revolution Anniversary: U.S., Israel to Exit Mideast

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday that the Middle East will soon be free of the United States and Israel, as massive crowds of Iranians chanted pro-Egypt and anti-American slogans while marking the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

Ahmadinejad warned Egyptians to be "watchful of the friendly face" of the United States.

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Impatient, Obama Sharply Questions Mubarak Pledge

Bristling with impatience, President Barack Obama on Thursday openly and sharply questioned whether Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's pledge to shift power to his vice president is an "immediate, meaningful or sufficient" sign of reform for a country in upheaval.

Without naming Mubarak, Obama issued a written statement that criticized the leader for not offering clarity to his people or a concrete path to democracy. He called on Egyptian government leaders to do so, declaring: "They have not yet seized that opportunity."

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As He Assumes Mubarak Powers, Egypt Powerful VP Tells Protesters to Go Home

Egypt's Vice President Omar Suleiman on Thursday told protesters and strikers to head home or back to work in his first speech after Hosni Mubarak delegated presidential powers to him.

Suleiman told "the youth of Egypt, its heroes, go home and go back to your jobs" in a televised statement shortly after Mubarak made an address formally putting his former intelligence chief in charge of government business.

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Mubarak Says Transferring Power to VP, But Keeps Title

Egypt's embattled President Hosni Mubarak announced Thursday he was handing his powers over to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, and ordered constitutional amendments.

But the move means he retains his title of president and ensures regime control over the reform process, falling short of protester demands.

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Obama: History Unfolding in Egypt

U.S. President Barack Obama declared Thursday the world was watching history unfold and a moment of transformation in Egypt, as reports said President Hosni Mubarak may be ready to step down.

Obama also directly addressed the young people of Egypt who have swelled massive crowds in Cairo, saying America would do all it could to ensure a genuine transition to democracy at an apparently pivotal moment of the crisis.

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Egypt Army Says to Take 'Measures to Protect Nation'

Egypt's military said Thursday it would respond to the "legitimate" demands of the people as President Hosni Mubarak's regime tottered in the face of massive nationwide protests demanding his overthrow.

It was not immediately clear if the announcement spelled the end of Mubarak's 30-year-reign, the central demand of hundreds of thousands of people who have filled the country's streets in the two-week-old uprising.

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Mubarak Could 'Respond to People Demands' by Friday, Says Ruling Party Official

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could "respond to the people's demands by tomorrow," the secretary general of his ruling party told the BBC on Thursday, as protesters demanded the strongman's departure.

"I expect the president to respond to the demands of the people, because what matters to him in the end is the stability of the country. The post is not important to him," Hossam Badrawi of the National Democratic Party said.

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