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Main news of February 20

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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

WORLD

* Protests in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule have left up to 200 people dead, the U.K.'s Independent newspaper reported

* Tunisia's ousted president hoarded diamonds, gold and large amounts of cash in secret places around his palace, the country's television reported

The death toll from an armed attack on a bank in Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan has risen to 40 people, Saifur Rehman Ibrahimkhel, head of the Jalalabad Civil Hospital, said

* The European Union's foreign policy chief has called on Libyan authorities to end violence in the country which has left up to 200 people dead

* At least 14 people were injured during protests in Sulaimaniya, a city in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region

* Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said his Saturday's statement on the Kuril Islands, which Moscow called 'ambiguous,' was not aimed against Russia

* An official spokesman for ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has denied media reports on his vast wealth, the MENA news agency said

* Cuban authorities released seven opposition activists sentenced to prison terms for "crimes against state security"

* About 300,000 residents of Cascavel in Brazil's western Parana state were left without drinking water when engine oil from an overturned tank truck polluted a local river

* Ten children have died in a fire that broke out at an orphanage in western Estonia, local media have reported

* The Israeli prime minister said Israel "views with utmost gravity" the plans by Iran to send warships to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal

* The passage of two Iranian warships through the Suez Canal has been delayed by 48 hours or until Wednesday morning, Haaretz reported citing a canal official

* South Korean rescuers ended search for seven Russian sailors who went missing after ship collision in early February

* The Bahraini opposition said the unrest will continue until the government resigns, with protesters refusing to hold a dialogue with the country's authorities

* North Korea has been digging special tunnels at a nuclear test site in Punggye-ri in the northern Hamgyong province, sparking concerns that it may be preparing for new nuclear tests, South Korea's news agency Yonhap reported on Sunday, citing government and military sources

* Around 1,900 guests have been invited to attend the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton due on April 29, a royal spokesman said

RUSSIA

* Police defused three bombs found in a car in Russia's North Caucasus Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, a day after an attack on tourists in the republic killed three and injured two people, a spokesman for the republican interior ministry said

* Russia has imposed a counter-terrorism regime in two areas of the North Caucasus Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria after an attack on tourists that killed three and injured two people and bomb attempts in the republic, the republican operational headquarters said

* The three car bombs defused in the Elbrus area in Russia's North Caucasus Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria had the combined strength of 70 kg of TNT, a spokesman for the republican law-enforcement agencies said

* Police have killed a militant during a special operation in Khasavyurt, Russia's North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, a spokesman for Russia's National Anti-Terrorist Committee said

 

BUSINESS

* Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir has invited Russian companies to take part in infrastructure and energy project in the northern part of the country

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