Reuters World News Highlights

CAIRO – Rival Islamist groups sought more gains in the  second round of Egypt’s parliamentary election yesterday,  with liberals also fighting for a voice in an army-led  transition that began with the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.
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 BEIRUT – Syrian troops swept into the city of Hama to break  a three-day strike by opponents of President Bashar al-Assad,  killing at least 10 people but running into resistance from  armed insurgents who destroyed two armoured vehicles, activists  said.
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 VIENNA – Iran could soon begin sensitive atomic activities  in an underground facility deep inside a mountain, diplomatic  sources said on Wednesday, a move that would up the ante in a  stand-off with big powers demanding Tehran curb such work.
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 BAGHDAD – Nearly nine years after the U.S.-led invasion of  Iraq ousted Saddam Hussein, American troops are pulling out and  leaving behind a country still battling insurgents, political  uncertainty and sectarian divisions.
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 WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats yesterday considered dropping their proposed surtax on  millionaires in a bid to reach a deal with Republicans to extend  a payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans set to expire at  year’s end.
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WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s re-election hopes in  2012 could be getting brighter as the bruising Republican  nomination fight intensifies and the struggling U.S. economy  shows signs of hope.
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 JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday approved steps to crack down on violent  ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers after a rampage at a West Bank  military base and torching of a mosque’s facade stirred public  outrage.
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BERLIN/FRANKFURT – Germany’s chancellor and central banker  urged Europe to stick to stricter budget discipline and forget  about one-shot solutions after financial markets judged that  another EU summit had failed to resolve the euro zone’s debt  crisis.

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