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    Wochit Headline News

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    Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has congratulated Prime Minister Sushil Koirala of Nepal on his election. Dr. Singh in his message said Mr. Koirala's election as Prime Minister represented an important milestone in consolidating the democratic gains in political transition in Nepal. "On behalf of the Government and people of India, please accept my warm felicitations on your election to the high office of Prime Minister of Nepal. We in India, therefore, not only share the aspirations of the people of Nepal for stability, democracy and prosperity, but also remain steadfast in our support to the Government and people of Nepal in their endeavours to pursue that goal.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has condemned a big power deal with Iran on its nuclear activity, said he would meet U.S. President Obama in Washington next month to further the goal of denying Tehran an atomic bomb capability. Netanyahu said the main aim of his Washington visit, which will include a policy speech to the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, would be to further the goal of preventing Iran from being able to "break out" a nuclear bomb. Iran denies Western allegations it has been seeking the means to make atomic weapons, saying such claims are baseless and fabricated by foes such as Israel, which is widely believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power.
    A second round of Syria peace talks got off to a shaky start on Monday with the international mediator meeting the two sides separately after violations of a local ceasefire and an Islamist offensive set back his efforts. Ahead of the talks, mediator Lakhdar Brahimi told delegates to commit first to discussing both ending the fighting and setting up a transitional government. The government side said combating "terrorism" - its catchall term for the revolt - should be agreed first. The second round was intended to follow quickly after no substantive progress was made last month at the first round of talks in nearly three years of civil war. Brahimi had tried to break down mutual distrust by focusing on agreeing a truce for a single city, Homs, but even that was only achieved after the first round was over, and aid workers were fired upon as they evacuated civilians on Saturday.
    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has sacked his chief of staff, Mike Oghiadomhe, two senior government sources told Reuters on Monday - the latest in a wave of government changes a year ahead of elections. Jonathan last month overhauled his military leadership and appointed 12 new cabinet ministers, while the chairman of his ruling People's Democratic Party resigned. He is being put under pressure by the increasingly powerful opposition All Progressives Congress party ahead of what is expected to be a hotly contested presidential election next year.