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Insurgents south of Syrian capital surrender, says state TV

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BEIRUT Insurgents in the last area outside the Syrian government's control near Damascus agreed to surrender on Friday, state media said, after a pounding bombardment overnight and through the morning. | Video

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Israeli troops kill two Palestinians in fourth week of protests 2:01pm BST

GAZA Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians and wounded 12 in renewed unrest on the Gaza-Israel border on Friday as a series of protests in the enclave reached its half-way mark. | Video

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Natalie Portman refuses to attend ceremony for Israeli million-dollar prize 1:27pm BST

JERUSALEM Israeli-American Hollywood actress Natalie Portman has refused to attend a ceremony in Israel to accept a million-dollar prize because of "distressing" events in the country, the organisers said, announcing the prizegiving had been cancelled.

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Russia hints producers could ease up on oil output curbs, countering Saudi view 11:57am BST

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers could begin easing up on output curbs before the end of the year, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday, sounding a bearish tone in contrast to Saudi Arabia's bullish stance.

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Asian oil demand to hit record, but industry can't take eyes off Middle East 10:18am BST

SINGAPORE Asian oil demand will hit a record in April just as global crude values are lifted to levels not seen in three years by Middle East supply risks and top exporter Saudi Arabia withholding output and noisily pushing for prices at $80 to $100 per barrel.

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Rare glimpse of Assad family ties to Russia in kids' stay at seaside camp 9:59am BST

SEVASTOPOL, Crimea News that Russia hosted the teenage children of Bashar al-Assad at a lavishly-rebuilt Black Sea summer camp in Crimea last year has given a rare glimpse into the personal lives of the Syrian president's family and his close relationship to Moscow. | Video

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Austria says will bar Turkish politicians from campaigning on its soil 9:23am BST

VIENNA Austria's right-wing coalition government, which is strongly opposed to Turkey joining the European Union, will bar Turkish politicians from campaigning on its territory ahead of June elections in Turkey, the chancellor has said.

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Russia - U.S. strikes remove moral hurdles for S-300 missiles for Assad: RIA 8:43am BST

MOSCOW U.S. military strikes on Syria last week removed any moral obligation Russia had to withhold S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems from its ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday, according to RIA state news agency.

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Romanian ruling party chief says plans to move Israel embassy to Jerusalem 8:35am BST

BUCHAREST The leader of Romania's ruling Social Democrats said the government had approved a memorandum to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, one of the first countries to do so following the United States.

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Turkey's ruling party taunts opposition over early election 5:21am BST

ANKARA Turkey's ruling AK Party taunted the main opposition party on Thursday to name a candidate to challenge Tayyip Erdogan for June elections which are expected to tighten the president's 15-year hold on power.

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