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Saturday, Apr 19th

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Pollution hides Beijing skyline; statues get masks

Beijing pollutionThe smog is so bad even the statues wear masks. Or at least they do in pictures of a campus stunt that circulated online Tuesday as parts of northern China suffered a sixth straight day of severe pollution.

After being cooped inside because of the bad air, a psychology student at Peking University ventured out to place the masks on campus statues of Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes, Communist Party co-founder Li Dazhao and a sage practicing tai chi.

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Iraq signs deal to buy arms, ammunition from Iran - document

Iraw buys arms form IranIran has signed a deal to sell Iraq arms and ammunition worth $195 million, according to documents seen by Reuters - a move that would break a U.N. embargo on weapons sales by Tehran.

The agreement was reached at the end of November, the documents showed, just weeks after Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki returned from Washington, where he lobbied the Obama administration for extra weapons to fight al Qaeda-linked militants.

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Ukraine’s fugitive president wanted for ‘mass murder’

ukraine president wanted for crimesOusted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was on the run on Monday, possibly somewhere in southern Ukraine, hunted by police for what opposition leaders call "mass murder" linked to the revolt against his rule. Scores have been killed in the uprising.

There were scattered reports Monday that volunteer militias have been forming in Yanukovich-supporting parts of the country, stoking fears that violence between pro-Western and pro-Russian Ukrainians could erupt. The U.S. State Department issued a warning on travel to the country, saying there were reports of sporadic violence against travelers and journalists.

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Egypt’s military-backed government resigns

Egypt gov't resigns

Egypt's interim prime minister announced Monday the resignation of his cabinet, a surprise move that could be designed in part to pave the way for the nation's military chief to leave his defense minister's post to run for president.

Hazem el-Beblawi's military-backed government was sworn in on July 16, less than two weeks after Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the defense minister, ousted President Mohamed Morsi after a year in office.

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Former-PM rallies Kiev protesters as president flees

UkraineFollowing a day of extraordinary drama, Ukraine faces a new and uncertain future after the country's parliament voted to impeach the president, and Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister, was released from prison. She has pledged to stand in elections in May.

As the president, Viktor Yanukovych, fled the capital, and parliament voted to strip him of his powers, he likened the actions of his opponents to those of the Nazis and said he would battle to stay in power. However, those willing to stand by Yanukovych diminished by the hour as his aides fled Ukraine and the president himself was accused by border officials of a failed attempt to fly out of the country.

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Mexico's top drug lord Joaquin 'Shorty' Guzman arrested

Mexico drug lordOne of the world's most wanted drug barons, Joaquin Guzman, known as El Chapo or "Shorty", has been arrested in Mexico.  He was the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, which smuggles huge amounts of illegal drugs into the US.

"Shorty" Guzman had been on the run since escaping a high-security prison in a laundry basket in 2001.  He was arrested in Sinaloa state, in a joint operation with US anti-drugs forces.

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HSBC to announce bonuses totaling $4 billion: report

HSBCHSBC will announce staff bonuses totaling just under 2.4 billion pounds ($4 billion) globally for 2013 and is expected to report a significant rise in pretax profit, Sky News reported on its website on Saturday without citing its sources.

Europe's biggest bank is expected on Monday to announce the size of its bonus pool, a sensitive issue as many Britons still blame banks for the 2008 financial crisis after which the state was forced to bail out RBS and Lloyds.

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