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Police clear refinery, French unions remain defiant

PARIS, France - French police cleared access to the main refinery supplying fuel to Paris early on Friday as unions hardened their stance ahead of a final vote on President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reform expected later in the day.

Cargo ship, Dutch passenger ferry collide in canal

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands - Dutch emergency services were searching for survivors after a cargo ship collided with a foot passenger ferry in a shipping canal south of Amsterdam on Friday morning, police said.

Typhoon weakens on path to China, sideswipes Taiwan

TAIPEI/HONG KONG - A strong typhoon initially feared to be among the worst in 50 years showed signs of weakening on a course to the southern coast of China after forcing the closure of Taiwan's biggest seaport and stranding hundreds of people on the island.

Italy calls emergency talks as riots erupt in Naples

NAPLES, Italy – Rioting residents threw rocks at police and destroyed garbage trucks during violent skirmishes near Naples on Thursday that injured 20 officers as the region's waste disposal crisis escalated.

French unions step up pressure on Sarkozy with demo call

PARIS – French unions step up pressure on President Nicolas Sarkozy to cave in on pension reform, calling for more mass strikes and street protests as parts of the country start to run dry following fuel blockades.

Cholera epidemic in quake-hit Haiti, 135 dead

SAINT MARC, Haiti – A cholera epidemic in northern Haiti has claimed 135 lives and infected 1,500 people over the last few days, Claude Surena, president of the Haitian Medical Association, said Thursday.

Hungary, rail firms sued in US over Holocaust role

WASHINGTON – Hungarian survivors of the Holocaust and families of the victims sued the Republic of Hungary and its two rail companies in U.S. court on Thursday, accusing them of collaborating with the Nazis to exterminate Jews during World War Two.

French students clash with police ahead of new protest

PARIS, France - French protestors blocked key sites and clashed with police on Thursday as unions called for further "massive" nationwide protests against President Nicolas Sarkozy's bid to raise the retirement age.

Even the queen takes a spending hit

LONDON, United Kingdom - As the axe fell on government spending Wednesday even Queen Elizabeth felt the pain.

Worst haze from Indonesia in 4 yrs hits neighbours hard

SINGAPORE - Illegal forest clearing fires in Indonesia's Sumatra Island are sending haze across the Malacca Strait to neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore, causing the worst air pollution since 2006, officials said on Thursday.