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Reuters World News Highlights 2200 GMT Oct 25

TOP STORIES

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BEIRUT/GENEVA - Syria's army command announced a ceasefire on Thursday to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha but said it reserved the right to respond to any rebel attack or moves to reinforce President Bashar al-Assad's armed foes.

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WASHINGTON - Republican challenger Mitt Romney held a 1 percentage point lead over President Barack Obama in Thursday's Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll in a presidential race that is effectively a dead heat less than two weeks before Americans vote.

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HAVANA - Hurricane Sandy swelled into a serious threat to much of the U.S. East Coast on Thursday after hammering Cuba's second-largest city and taking aim at the Bahamas, U.S. forecasters said.

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LONDON - A friend of accused UBS fraudster Kweku Adoboli told him in 2008 she hoped never to read articles about him in the press like those she had read about a ``rogue trader'' at France's Societe Generale , a London court heard on Thursday.

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ROME - An election in Italy's region of Sicily on Sunday could give clues to how the centre-right will fare in national polls early next year, the first for 18 years in which it will not be led by former premier Silvio Berlusconi.

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MOUNT ARAFAT - Syrian pilgrims raised rebel flags as the haj reached its climax near Mecca on Thursday, despite a call from Saudi Arabia's top cleric for the annual Islamic pilgrimage to be free from nationalist sentiment and Muslim infighting.

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LONDON - The WikiLeaks website began publishing on Thursday what it said were more than 100 U.S. Defense Department files detailing military detention policies in camps in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. targets.

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JERUSALEM - Palestinian militants held fire overnight on Thursday and Israel refrained from air strikes as an informal truce brokered by Egypt appeared to take hold following two days of violence along the Israel-Gaza border.