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North Korea Warns it Would Attack South over Joint Drills with U.S.

North Korea's military threatened Sunday to fire at South Korea, as Seoul prepared to start annual joint drills with U.S. troops — maneuvers Pyongyang says are a rehearsal for an invasion.

The North's military warned that it would shoot directly at South Korean border towns and destroy them if Seoul continued to allow activists to launch propaganda leaflets toward the communist country, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said. The warning was conveyed to South Korea's military earlier Sunday, it said.

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New Zealand Earthquake Toll Surges to 145 Dead

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key warned the country may be facing its greatest tragedy Saturday as the death toll from this week's earthquake surged to 145, with 200 missing.

Key said Tuesday's tremor, which toppled office buildings and rained debris on busy Christchurch streets, "may be New Zealand’s single most tragic event", outstripping a 1931 quake which killed 256.

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Bomb Kills Nine Civilians in Afghanistan

A roadside bomb killed nine civilians including women and children when it struck the vehicle they were traveling in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, provincial police said.

The civilians were driving into Khost city, capital of Khost province, when the blast hit their van, deputy provincial police chief Mohammad Yaqoub Mandozai told AFP.

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‘Dark Days' in New Zealand as Quake Toll Rises to 113

New Zealand warned frantic relatives to brace for the worst Friday as toiling rescuers failed to find any more survivors after a devastating earthquake left at least 113 dead.

As rain hampered the painstaking search of the wreckage in Christchurch's city center, Foreign Minister Murray McCully admitted: "The rescue focus is drawing towards a conclusion."

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Four Dead as Militants Blow up 11 NATO Tankers

Militants in northwestern Pakistan blew up at least 11 tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan Friday and shot dead four people, police said.

The rebels struck at a terminal on the outskirts of the city of Peshawar, which runs into Pakistan's lawless tribal belt.

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Saudi Held on Charges of Plotting Attacks on U.S. Targets, Bush's Home

A Saudi man has been arrested for allegedly buying chemicals and equipment to make a bomb and researching U.S. targets, including the Dallas home of former president George W. Bush, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, a Saudi national who came to Texas on student visa in 2008, was arrested late Wednesday and faces charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

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Suicide Blast Kills One, Wounds 26 in Afghanistan

A suicide car bomb attack killed an intelligence agent and wounded 26 other people in an Afghan town on the Pakistan border Thursday, officials said, in the latest in a wave of blasts.

The explosives-packed vehicle with two bombers inside blew up in Spin Boldak after intelligence agents acting on a tip-off opened fire in a bid to stop it, Lutfullah Mashal, a spokesman for Afghanistan's national spy agency, said.

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Senegal Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Iran Over Weapons Row

Senegal has cut diplomatic ties with Iran, accusing it of delivering weapons to separatist rebels in its restive southern Casamance region where 16 soldiers have been killed since the end of December.

A cache of Iranian weapons concealed as building material intercepted in Nigeria in October 2010, was found to be one of several shipments passing through Gambia and destined for the Casamance rebel movement.

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Frantic Search for Survivors as New Zealand Quake Leaves 400 Dead, Missing

Hundreds of rescuers swarmed over twisted and smoking buildings Wednesday in a frantic search for survivors after New Zealand's catastrophic earthquake left nearly 400 dead or missing.

Emergency services cordoned off central Christchurch, which was devastated by Tuesday's shallow, 6.3-magnitude tremor, to hunt for anyone still alive along with an unknown number of bodies buried in the rubble.

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Somali Pirates Kill 4 U.S. Hostages on Yacht

Somali pirates killed four Americans Tuesday, including a retired couple onboard their hijacked yacht in a sudden violent turn to efforts to end a hostage drama, the U.S. military said.

Four Somali pirates also died, two of them killed by U.S. special forces in one of the deadliest endings to a raft of hostage-takings off the coast of Somalia that are often resolved through ransom payments.

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