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International

Venezuela threatens to cut oil to US

By IRNA

Madrid : Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has threatened to cut off his country's oil shipments to the United States if a court ruling goes forward ordering Venezuelan assets be frozen in a case brought by Exxon Mobil.

The dispute centers on President Hugo Chavez's nationalization of heavy oil projects.

"One court orders that Venezuela be frozen," he said on his weekly television and radio program "Hello, President." "If you wind up freezing and hurt us, we will hurt you. Do you know how? We are not going to send oil to the United States."

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Talks with pirates over hijacked Sakhalin-bound tugboat continue

By RIA Novosti

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk : Talks with pirates who seized a tugboat carrying a Russian-British-Irish crew off the coast of Somalia coast two weeks ago are continuing, a spokesman for the Danish owner said on Monday.

The Svitzer Korsakov vessel, intended for use in the Sakhalin II oil and gas project led by Russian energy giant Gazprom, was seized in the early afternoon of February 1 during a voyage from St. Petersburg to Russia's Far Eastern island of Sakhalin via Singapore.

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Nepali constituent assembly election court formed

By Xinhua

Kathmandu : Nepali cabinet has formed the Constitutional Court to hear disputes and complaints regarding the election, local leading media group's website Nepalnews.com reported Monday.

The Constitutional Court was formed on Sunday as per the recommendation by the Judicial Council and the special act passed by the Nepali parliament.

Anup Raj Sharma, a Supreme Court judge will head the court. The court will include two members, Tapa Bahadur Magar and Ram Kumar Prasad Shah, both of whom are judges at the apex court.

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Seoul's 610-year-old gate collapses in fire

By Xinhua

Seoul : South Korea's landmark ancient architecture of Sungnyemun Gate, which is located in central Seoul and has a 610-year history, collapsed early Monday after catching fire.

The wooden structure of the gate caught fire at about 8:50 p.m. Sunday (1150 GMT Sunday) and collapsed at around 1 a.m. Monday (1600 GMT Sunday), local government said.

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Sobhraj's lawyer seeks quick trial

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS

Kathmandu : With his new trial scheduled to start from Wednesday, a grim Charles Sobhraj's firebrand lawyer has asked Nepal's top judge to give him "immediate attention" and a "quick release".

Paris-based maverick lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who earlier wrote to Nepal's King Gyanendra and, recently, to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, saying her client was the victim of prejudice and trumped-up charges, has now sent her plea to Nepal's Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri.

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Obama wins a Grammy, beating Bill Clinton this time

By Arun Kumar, IANS

Washington : Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has scored another victory over the Clintons, but this one outside the political arena.

Obama, who is vying to become America's first black president, won a Grammy Sunday, beating former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

He won the best-spoken word album category for the audio version of his book "The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream".

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France will be EU development engine again: Sarkozy

By Xinhua

Paris : French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that France would resume its role of an engine in promoting the development of Europe.

The remark came two days after the French parliament gave the green light to the new European Union (EU) reform treaty, making France the fifth and so far the largest country to ratify the document.

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Floods kill 11 in Indonesia

By Xinhua

Jakarta : At least 11 people have been killed and hundreds of houses swept away as flash floods hit Indonesia's East Java province, officials said Monday.

Bodies of 11 people were found while at least 44 have been injured and admitted to local hospitals in Situbondo district in the East Java province, Wiyono, head of the nation-integrity affairs office, was quoted as saying by Antara news agency Monday.

About 600 houses collapsed and some 4,664 houses in 19 villages in six sub-districts were seriously inundated, the official said.

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For Sri Lanka, mega shipping hub status long way off

By P.K. Balachandran, IANS

Colombo : Colombo Port has been a major trans-shipment hub in the Indian Ocean region for a long time. But the 'mega shipping hub' status that Sri Lanka is seeking is still a long way off, shipping experts say.

Former ports minister Dilan Perera said Sri Lanka had the "advantage of location" to be a "mega hub" of the South Asian region. "There is a yawning gap in South Asia which Sri Lanka is well qualified to fill," he said.

Obama enters battle of Potomac with four big wins

By Arun Kumar, IANS

Washington : Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama scored his fourth victory in a row over rival Hillary Clinton with a win in the Maine caucuses to build momentum ahead of Tuesday's crucial Potomac primaries.

Sunday's victory helped Obama, who wants to be America's first black president, grab at least 13 of the state's 24 delegates to come within breathing distance of former first lady Clinton who is bidding to be the nation's first woman chief executive.

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