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Reuters World News Highlights at 0945 GMT, Nov 02

Nov 2 (Reuters) - TOP STORIES

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NEW YORK - From New York City's Staten Island to the popular beach towns of the Jersey Shore, rescuers and officials on Friday faced growing evidence of widespread destruction wrought by superstorm Sandy, mounting anger over delayed relief and a rising death toll.

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GREEN BAY - President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney went back on the attack on Thursday, breaking a storm-induced campaign truce to hit the road and pound home their closing messages in the final stretch of a tight election battle.

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BEIRUT - Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have withdrawn from their last base near the northern town of Saraqeb, further weakening his ability to fight rebels in the country's largest city Aleppo, a violence monitoring group said on Friday.

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BEIJING - Potentially sinister threats to China's ruling Communist Party sit unnoticed in cages perched on a rooftop above a small alleyway in southwestern Beijing. Not dissidents. Pigeons.

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MOSCOW - When Vladimir Putin celebrated his 60th birthday last month, a group of patriotic mountaineers unfurled a portrait of the Russian leader on a 4,150-metre mountain peak.

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BEIJING/SHANGHAI - Honda Motor Co Ltd's China car sales plunged 54 percent in October from a year earlier, with the pace of decline accelerating from the previous month as Japanese automakers suffer the backlash from a territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo.

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JOHANNESBURG - AngloGold Ashanti suspended operations at one of its South African mines on Friday, a sign that labour tensions continue to bubble in the sector despite the official resolution of weeks of wildcat walkouts.

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ATHENS - A Greek journalist who published the names of more than 2,000 of his compatriots who held Swiss bank accounts was acquitted on Thursday in a case that touched a nerve over the role of tax evasion in the country's debt crisis.

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SHANGHAI/BEIJING - It looked like another victory for the people when the Chinese city of Ningbo announced the suspension on Sunday of a petrochemical project after days of street protests by citizens concerned it would pollute their community.

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RONDONOPOLIS, Brazil - When Marcondes Mendona hauls corn from Brazil's farm belt to port in the distant south, the young trucker prays for protection from gaping potholes and dangerous drivers, and dreads the squalid toilets on the seven-day journey ahead.