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Monday, Apr 27th

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Venezuelan parliament OKs decree powers for president

Venezuelan presidentThe Venezuelan parliament on Sunday approved a law giving President Nicolas Maduro the power to legislate by decree for nine months in the face of what he described as threats by the U.S. government.

The so-called "anti-imperialist" law will be in effect from the time it is published in Venezuela's Official Gazette until Dec. 31.

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Syria conflict: US wants to 're-ignite' peace talks, says Kerry

US will deal with AssadUS Secretary of State John Kerry says he wants to "re-ignite" negotiations with President Bashar al-Assad to end the conflict in Syria.

Speaking as the war enters its fifth year, Mr Kerry said it was "one of the worst tragedies any of us have seen"  He said the international community was upping pressure on Syria's regime to hold new peace talks, saying "we have to negotiate in the end" with Mr Assad.

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14 dead, 70 injured at Pakistan church bombings; riots ensue

Pakistan church bombedTwo Taliban suicide bombers attacked two churches as worshippers gathered inside in a generally peaceful area of Pakistan early Sunday, leaving 14 people dead and another 70 injured.

Among the dead at the Roman Catholic Church and Christ Church in the eastern city of Lahore are a 12-year-old boy and two police officers. Angry mobs burned to death one person they believed involved in the attacks and tried to lynch another.

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Elderly Indian nun gang-raped in convent school attack

Indian nun rapedPolice in eastern India are searching for a group of six men who gang-raped an elderly nun in West Bengal.

The men ransacked the convent school in Ranaghat early on Saturday morning and stole money before entering the convent itself.  The 74-year-old nun is now recovering in hospital.

Christian groups have recently held protests in the Indian capital, Delhi, saying they are being targeted and demanding better protection.

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South Pacific cyclone leaves 'utter devastation,' at least eight dead

South pacific cycloneTropical Cyclone Pam "utterly devastated" the South Pacific Vanuatu islands, killing at least eight people, relief workers said. More casualties are expected.

The Category 5 storm, packing 167 mph winds with gusts up to 200 mph, left a trail of destruction that stretched the nation of Vanuatu, an archipelago of 80 islands off Australia's northeastern coast. Homes were leveled and power lines were downed. There is no running water or electricity in the capital city of Port Vila, where about 47,000 people live. There are reports of entire villages being decimated.

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Dozens feared dead as Myanmar ferry sinks

Myanmar ferry sinksAt least 47 people are feared dead after an overloaded ferry sank in bad weather off the western coast of Myanmar, government officials said Saturday, though local residents said they believed the death toll was much higher.

The ship was reportedly carrying 214 passengers and crew when it ran into high seas late on Friday on a voyage from the coastal town of Taunggok to Sittwe, capital of Rakhine state, a police officer in Sittwe told Agence France-Presse.

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Muslim teachers may wear headscarves in class, German court rules

anti islam protestFemale Muslim teachers in Germany may wear headscarves in class as long as it does not cause disruption in the school, Germany’s top court has said in a ruling that may fuel debate about what some nationalist groups see as creeping “Islamisation”.

The constitutional court reversed its initial 2003 ban on headscarves for teachers, which had led some German states to forbid Muslim headscarves in schools while permitting the wearing of Christian symbols such as crucifixes and nuns’ habits.

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