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Belgium Takes New Step to Resolve Political Crisis

Belgian political parties trying to end a crisis that has left the country without a government for a world-record 468 days agreed Saturday on greater autonomy for the feuding regions during marathon talks.

"It's a giant step in the right direction," Charles Michel, head of the French-speaking Reformist Movement, said after the 18-hour meeting of the eight Flemish and francophone parties.

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Medvedev Nominates Putin for 2012 Polls

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday stunningly announced that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin should return to the Kremlin in 2012 elections for a new six-year mandate.

Medvedev told the annual congress of ruling party United Russia that he was prepared to take on "practical work" in the government after the March presidential polls, a hint that he could be prime minister in a new Putin presidency.

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11 More Bodies in Veracruz as Prosecutors Meet

Despite intense security for a national meeting of Mexico's state prosecutors and tough talk from top cops, criminals dumped more bodies in Veracruz three days after gunmen left 35 corpses on a major avenue during rush hour.

A navy official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Friday that police found 11 bodies around town Thursday, even as this Gulf of Mexico port city ramped up security for the prosecutors meeting by deploying hundreds of soldiers, sailors and police on the streets.

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Third U.S. Afghan 'Kill Team' Soldier Sentenced

A U.S. soldier was sentenced to seven years in prison after becoming the third member of an alleged rogue army unit to admit his role in killings of Afghan civilians.

Private First Class Andrew Holmes, who struck a plea bargain on Thursday, will also be dishonorably discharged from the military, according to presiding judge Lieutenant Colonel Kwasi Hawks.

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More than 150 Dead in Thai Flooding

Two infant brothers swept away by rising waters in northern Thailand have become the latest victims of two months of heavy flooding that have left over 150 people dead, authorities said Saturday.

The boys, a nine-month-old and his sibling aged two, are thought to have drowned when a flash flood hit the mountainous Fang district in northern Chiang Mai province late Friday night, said an official from the disaster prevention and mitigation department.

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Turkish Ship Sets Sail for Gas Search Off Cyprus

A Turkish seismic ship set sail Friday for gas exploration off Cyprus, live television footage showed.

The ship "Piri Reis" departed from a local port in the Aegean province of Izmir, in an apparent response to a move by Greek Cypriots to press ahead with offshore gas drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.

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Report: Turkey Ready to Drop Gas Exploration if Cyprus does

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey is willing to drop controversial plans for offshore gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean if its rival Cyprus is willing to do the same, the Anatolia news agency reported Friday.

Erdogan made the comments to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon late Thursday on the margins of the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York, the agency said.

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Dozens Injured as Hundreds of Protesters Attack Police Station in China

Hundreds of protesters attacked a police station in southern China and ransacked vehicles, leaving dozens injured in the latest unrest to hit China's industrial heartland, authorities said Friday.

It was the latest in a series of protests sparked by perceived social injustices in Guangdong, known as the workshop of the world for the tens of millions of migrant workers who toil in the province's factories.

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Pakistan Threatens U.S.: You Will Lose an Ally

Pakistan on Friday warned the United States that it could lose Islamabad as an ally if public accusations continue over its alleged involvement in major attacks against U.S. targets in Afghanistan.

"We have also conveyed this to the United States, that you will lose an ally. You cannot afford to alienate Pakistan. You cannot afford to alienate the Pakistani people," Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told private Geo TV.

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Karzai Vows to Continue Afghan Peace Effort

Afghan President Hamid Karzai vowed to continue efforts to make peace with Taliban-led insurgents in a speech on Friday at the funeral of the government's assassinated peace broker Burhanuddin Rabbani.

"The blood of the martyred (Rabbani) and other martyrs of freedom require us to continue our efforts until we reach peace and stability," Karzai said.

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