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Reuters World News Highlights 1800 GMT Oct 23

Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012 | 6:00 PM ET

TOP STORIES

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GAZA - The Emir of Qatar embraced the Hamas leadership of Gaza on Tuesday with an official visit that broke the isolation of the Palestinian Islamist movement, to the dismay of Israel and rival, Western-backed Palestinian leaders.

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BEIRUT - Syrian rebels are battling to seize an army base close to the main north-south highway and say its capture would be a big step towards creating a ``safe zone'' allowing them to focus on Bashar al-Assad's southern strongholds.

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TRIPOLI, Lebanon - The Lebanese army has arranged a ceasefire on Tuesday in the northern city of Tripoli after two nights of fighting between Sunni and Alawite gunmen loyal to different sides in the war in neighbouring Syria, a military source said.

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DELRAY BEACH, Florida - President Barack Obama told voters on Tuesday that Republican rival Mitt Romney shifts his policy positions and cannot be trusted to deal honestly with the public as the presidential campaign entered its frantic final weeks.

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DUBAI - Iran said on Tuesday it would stop oil exports if pressure from Western sanctions got any tighter and that it had a ``Plan B'' contingency strategy to survive without oil revenues.

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BEIJING - The subtle dropping of references to late Chinese leader Mao Zedong from two policy statements over the last few weeks serves as one of the most intriguing hints yet that the ruling Communist Party is planning to move in the direction of reform.

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LONDON - The head of the BBC denied on Tuesday helping to cover up a sex scandal involving one of its former stars but accepted the British broadcaster had been damaged by a crisis that has shaken public trust in a national institution.

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SAN JOSE - Apple Inc is expected to make its biggest product move on Tuesday since debuting the iPad two years ago, launching a smaller, cheaper tablet into a market staked out by Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc .

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TOKYO - Japan's justice minister quit on Tuesday because of ill health, a cabinet official said, after calls for his resignation over past ties to an organised crime syndicate, dealing another blow to unpopular Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

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KABUL - Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday condemned a NATO operation that he said killed four children in the country's east, a claim the coalition said was possible.