Reuters World News Highlights

VENICE – Workers toiled above and below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico yesterday to plug a gushing oil leak and protect the US shoreline in one of the biggest spill containment efforts ever mounted.

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LONDON – Britain’s party leaders made a final push to win over millions of undecided voters before an election today that is expected to be one of the closest in decades and decide how the economy recovers from recession.

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WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama sounded out senior Senate Republicans yesterday about Supreme Court justice candidates and was warned he could expect a tough confirmation fight if he chooses an overt liberal.

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HERAT, Afghanistan – Taliban suicide bombers launched simultaneous attacks on three government buildings in southwestern Afghanistan on Monday, killing four people, including a government official, the Interior Ministry said.

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate was expected to vote by yesterday afternoon on a new “orderly liquidation” system for dismantling distressed financial firms that will exclude a proposed $50 billion fund to help pay for it, according to the Senate’s chief author of Wall Street reform.

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UNITED NATIONS – The United States, Russia, Britain, France and China voiced support yesterday for making the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone, which would ultimately force Israel to scrap any atomic arms it has.

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GUANTANAMO BAY US NAVAL BASE, Cuba – A former US Army interrogator known as “The Monster” told the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal that he felt compassion for a wounded young Canadian captive he befriended at the notorious Bagram detention centre in Afghanistan.

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ATHENS/BERLIN – European leaders warned yesterday that the euro zone debt crisis could spread like a bushfire beyond Greece, and investors sold stocks and the euro as Greek anti-austerity unrest claimed its first lives.

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BANGKOK – Anti-government protesters refused to leave their fortified camp in central Bangkok yesterday, saying the prime minister had to fix a date for dissolving parliament before they would end their two-month-old rally.

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DUBLIN/LONDON – A cloud of abrasive volcanic ash drifting south from Iceland disrupted flights to and from Ireland and Scotland anew yesterday.

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NAIROBI – Somali pirates hijacked a Russian tanker carrying $52 million worth of crude oil and 23 crew yesterday, prompting Russia to send a warship to try to deal with the incident, officials said.

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