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    07 April 2009

    Vermont to legalize gay marriage

    Both houses in the US state of Vermont's legislature have voted to legalise same-sex marriage.

    Vermont will become the fourth state to allow gay marriage, and the first to do so by a legislative vote and not a court ruling.

    Republican Governor Jim Douglas vetoed the law when it originally passed.

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    Asnycnow15 English © 2009.

    Niger opens Tuareg rebels talks

    The government of Niger has opened ground-breaking talks in Libya's capital, Tripoli, with Tuareg rebels of the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ).

    Niger has previously refused to negotiate with the rebels, whom it labelled as bandits and drug-smugglers.

    Niger is being represented by the Interior Minister Albedi Abouba.

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    The talks follow last month's visit to Niger by the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and the release by the rebels of some government troops. Asnycnow15 English © 2009.

    Obama urges Iraqis to take charge

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    US President Barack Obama has said the time has come for Iraqis to "take responsibility for their country".

    Mr Obama was speaking during an unannounced trip to Baghdad, his first visit to the country as president.

    He was greeted enthusiastically by US troops, whom he praised for their "extraordinary achievements" in Iraq.

    Mr Obama also had talks with Iraq's leaders, and confirmed his plans to withdraw all US troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

    Asnycnow15 English © 2009

    Rwanda lambasts 'cowardice' of UN

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    Rwandan President Paul Kagame has accused the international community of cowardice during a speech marking the 15th anniversary of Rwanda's genocide.

    He told a rally of 20,000 people in the capital, Kigali, UN troops abandoned their posts without firing a shot.

    Thousands of candles were lit at the stadium, spelling out the word 'hope'.

    Mr Kagame also led commemorations at Nyanza, where more than 5,000 people were slaughtered after peacekeepers pulled out.

    © 2009 Asnycnow15 English.

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