Reuters World News Highlights

WASHINGTON – The United States has signaled to North Korea’s  new leaders it hopes for progress on the nuclear issue and has  pushed ahead with discussions on resuming food aid despite the  death of leader Kim Jong-il, U.S. officials said yesterday.

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CAIRO – Egyptian police and soldiers fired guns and teargas  to try to clear protesters from Cairo’s Tahrir Square on the  fifth day of clashes that have killed 13 people and drawn a  stinging rebuke from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama demanded yesterday that  Republicans in the House of Representatives pass a short-term  extension of a payroll tax cut, showing an unwillingness to back  down in a fight that could result in higher taxes for 160  million Americans.

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ROME – Diplomats from the United States, the European Union  and other allies agreed yesterday to step up pressure on Iran  to force it to resume talks over its nuclear programme, an  Italian diplomatic source said.

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ILIGAN, Philippines – Philippine President Benigno Aquino  ordered an investigation yesterday into flash floods and  landslides that sent mud and logs crashing down on residents,  killing about 1,000 people on a southern island.

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OTTUMWA, Iowa – Slipping in polls under an onslaught of  attacks, Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich  promises to wage a sharper and more aggressive campaign in the  final two weeks before Iowa kicks off the party’s nominating  race.

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ROME – The Moroccan-born woman at the centre of a major sex  scandal and trial involving former Prime Minister Silvio  Berlusconi had a baby yesterday by her nightclub-owner  boyfriend.

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