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/ 13 May 2008

Lebanon’s Hariri vows no surrender to Hezbollah

Lebanon’s Sunni Muslim leader Saad al-Hariri pledged on Tuesday there would be no political surrender to what he called a bid by Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian backers to impose their will on the nation by force. The Shi’ite Hezbollah group and its opposition allies have routed supporters of the Sunni-led government in Beirut.

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/ 11 May 2008

‘Unimaginable tragedy’ if Burma delays aid

Desperate survivors of Cyclone Nargis poured out of Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta on Sunday in search of food, water and medicine as aid groups said thousands more people will die if emergency supplies do not get through soon. Buddhist temples and high schools in towns on the outskirts of Nargis’s trail of destruction are now makeshift refugee centres.

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/ 10 May 2008

Burma holds referendum amid cyclone chaos

The military rulers of Burma went ahead with a constitutional referendum on Saturday despite calls from the outside world to postpone it after the devastation of Cyclone Nargis.The plebiscite was postponed by two weeks in the hardest-hit Irrawaddy Delta and the city of Rangoon, but voting went ahead in other parts of the country.

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/ 7 May 2008

UN: One million homeless in Burma

Aid was trickling in on Wednesday for an estimated one million victims of Cyclone Nargis in military-ruled Burma, with the death toll of more than 22 500 expected to mount. France has suggested invoking a United Nations ”responsibility to protect” clause and delivering aid directly to Burma without waiting for approval from the military in Rangoon.

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/ 7 May 2008

Burma cyclone aid starts amid hunger fears

Disease, hunger and thirst pose a major threat to hundreds of thousands of survivors of Cyclone Nargis, aid agencies said on Wednesday, urging Burma’s military rulers to open the doors to international humanitarian relief. Aid officials estimate hundreds of thousands are homeless in the swamplands of the delta south-west of the biggest city Rangoon.

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/ 29 March 2008

Merkel won’t attend opening of Beijing Olympics

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Friday became the first world leader to decide not to attend the Olympics in Beijing. As pressure built for concerted Western protests to China over the crackdown in Tibet, European Union leaders prepared to discuss the crisis for the first time on Saturday, amid a rift over whether to boycott the Olympics.

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/ 4 February 2008

As evacuees flee, Paris puts role in Chad in play

Resolutions at the United Nations or African Union could alter the mission of French troops in Chad, France’s Foreign Minister said on Monday as a first planeload of evacuees landed at a Paris airport. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Defence Minister Herve Morin said French forces secured Chad’s airbases and were protecting French and foreign civilians.

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/ 3 February 2008

Fighting restarts around palace in Chad capital

Fighting restarted on Sunday around the presidential palace in the Chadian capital, Ndjamena, where rebel forces have surrounded President Idriss Déby Itno and loyalist troops, residents said. This is despite an earlier report that the main leader of the rebels had accepted a ceasefire proposed by Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi.

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/ 4 January 2008

Tutu sees hope for Kenya deal

President Mwai Kibaki is open to the idea of a coalition government to end Kenya’s post-election crisis but only if the opposition meets his terms, South African Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu said on Friday. ”There is a great deal of hope,” said Tutu, trying to mediate to end turmoil that has killed more than 300 people and threatened one of Africa’s strongest economies.

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/ 27 December 2007

Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide attack

Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on Thursday as she left an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi, putting January 8 polls in doubt and sparking anger in her native Sindh province. State media and her party confirmed Bhutto’s death from a gun and bomb attack. ”She has been martyred,” said party official Rehman Malik.

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/ 26 November 2007

Putin accuses US of meddling in Russia vote

President Vladimir Putin accused Washington on Monday of plotting to undermine December parliamentary elections seen widely as a demonstration of his enduring power in Russia. Putin, drawing on resurgent nationalist sentiment ahead of Sunday’s poll, also said Russia must maintain its defences to discourage others from ”poking their snotty noses” in its affairs.

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/ 15 October 2007

Stop the arrests, UN envoy tells Burma junta

United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari told Burma on Monday to stop arresting dissidents and Thailand proposed a regional forum including China and India to nudge the reclusive military junta towards democratic reform. Gambari said the continued arrests and intimidation of activists were ”extremely disturbing”.

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/ 8 October 2007

Brown ratchets up Zim-boycott threat

Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned on Monday that neither he nor any other senior British government minister will attend a Europe-Africa summit if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is there. Previously Brown had said he would boycott the December summit, but it has been unclear if Britain could be represented at a lower level.

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/ 6 October 2007

Africans defend Mugabe over summit

African diplomats presented a united front on Saturday to support Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s presence at an upcoming European Union-Africa summit despite strong European reservations. "The African Union wants all African countries to take part" in the summit in Lisbon in December, an official from the body’s headquarters in Addis Ababa said.

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/ 4 October 2007

Iran to go ahead with disputed atomic work

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the world could not stop the Islamic state’s nuclear programme, which the West fears is a cover to build nuclear bomb, the official IRNA news agency said on Thursday. Ahmadinejad was speaking the day after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called on the European Union to take the lead in widening financial sanctions on Iran.

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/ 30 September 2007

Darfur attack kills 10 AU troops, 50 missing

Ten African Union (AU) soldiers were killed and 50 were missing after armed men launched an assault on an AU base in Darfur, the worst attack on AU troops since they deployed in Sudan’s violent west in 2004. The AU called it a ”deliberate and sustained” assault by about 30 vehicles, which overran and looted the peacekeepers’ camp on Saturday night.

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/ 19 September 2007

Iran warns it could bomb Israel if attacked

Iran on Wednesday said the military has drawn up a plan under which its fighter jets could bomb Israel if the Jewish state launched a military attack against the Islamic republic over its atomic drive. ”Iranian bombers can carry out an attack in retaliation against Israeli soil,” deputy air force commander Mohammad Alavi said, quoted by the Fars news agency.

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/ 18 September 2007

Russia warns against Iran war

Russia expressed worry on Tuesday over the possibility of war with Iran as French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner pressed for tougher sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov emphasised Russia’s "concern" over "multiple reports that military action against Iran is being seriously considered.

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/ 17 September 2007

War with Iran must be avoided, says French PM

Everything must be done to avoid the prospect of war with Iran, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Monday, a day after his foreign minister said the country should prepare for that possibility. The United States, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China have backed two rounds of United Nations sanctions against Iran.