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International

Bush sympathizes with contenders in Iowa

By Xinhua

Washington : President George W. Bush has been watching the Iowa caucuses and sympathized with winners and losers, the White House said on Friday.

"He said he understands the excitement of the winners and the disappointment of the losers and the range of emotions that go with these events," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Republican, and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Democrat, won their party's caucuses in Iowa, respectively, with 34 percent and 38 percent.

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New Hampshire heats up as presidential contenders swarm in

By Xinhua

Washington : As campaign volunteers disappear from the streets and candidates' posters come off the walls in Iowa, New Hampshire becomes the second heated battlefield in which the 2008 presidential contenders will further their leads or fight for survival in the Jan. 8 primary.

The first bout in the Iowa caucuses on Thursday has left the following primaries and caucuses more uncertain, with Illinois Senator Barack Obama leading the Democrats with 38 percent and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee topping the Republican list with 34 percent.

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US Navy told to cut sonar exercises to protect whales

By Xinhua

Los Angeles : A US federal judge has ordered the toughest set of restrictions on the US Navy's use of mid-frequency sonar off California coast as part of a protracted court battle to protect whales and other marine mammals, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The order was the first time that the judge has spelled out specific rules the Navy must follow to avoid a court-imposed ban on training missions with a type of sonar that has been linked to the death and panicked behaviour of whales and dolphins.

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US presidential hopefuls focussing on round two

By Arun Kumar, IANS

Washington : Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, victor and vanquished in the battle of Iowa, moved into New Hampshire, with one seeking to capitalise on his win and the other hoping to regain her front-runner status.

So did the other US presidential hopefuls, second placed Democrat John Edwards and underdog Republican Mike Huckabee, a Baptist preacher who scored an upset win over well-heeled Mitt Romney, for the second of the state-by-state battles next Tuesday.

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Spears hospitalised after police stand-off, loses custody

By DPA

Los Angeles : A Los Angeles family court has suspended troubled pop star Britney Spears' visitation rights to her two children after she was hospitalised for physical and psychological evaluation following a tense, three-hour stand-off with police in her luxury Hollywood home.

The bizarre episode Friday and its aftermath marks a new low in the rapidly deteriorating saga surrounding Spears, since she split with ex-husband Kevin Federline about a year ago.

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Sri Lanka says ban on LTTE not on the cards

By P.K. Balachandran, IANS

Colombo : The Sri Lankan government has ruled out an immediate ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) separatist group.

"As of now we have not thought of banning the LTTE," Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told the media here Friday.

"The talk of a ban has been speculative," he added.

Truce saved 10,000 Sri Lankan lives, say Nordic ministers

By P.K. Balachandran, IANS

Colombo : Foreign ministers of five Nordic countries, which had contributed truce monitors to Sri Lanka, have claimed that the ceasefire agreement (CFA), which the Sri Lankan government abrogated earlier this week, had saved an estimated 10,000 lives in the first three years of its existence.

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Olympic dragon: Beijing opens world's largest air terminal

By DPA

Beijing : A dragon is rising in the Olympic city of Beijing as the world's largest airport terminal is about to open for business at the end of February.

"Everything's going fine and the building will be opened according to plan," an airport spokesman says. From the air, the 3.5-km-long terminal looks like a giant sleeping dragon lying outside the gates of the Chinese capital.

The dragon shape with its characteristic spiky ridges on the golden brown roof was designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster.

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Clinton seeks to rebound after Iowa defeat

By DPA

Washington : Hillary Clinton, seeking to rebound from her disappointing loss in the first state contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, hit the campaign trail in the next battleground state Friday.

Less than 12 hours after Senator Barack Obama captured the Democratic contest in Iowa and former governor Mike Huckabee prevailed in the Republican race, Clinton joined the host of Republican and Democratic candidates in New Hampshire fighting for votes in the presidential primary set for Tuesday.

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Kenya opposition demands new elections, protests continue

By DPA

Nairobi : The opposition in Kenya Friday demanded that President Mwai Kibaki step down after his controversial election victory and prepare the path for new elections within three months, as protests continued in the country.

According to the secretary-general of the Orange Democracy Movement (ODM), Anyang Nyongo, the new elections would have to take place under independent observation and without the current electoral commission.

Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said Kibaki was not opposed to new elections "in principle", given they were ordered by a court.

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