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British public sector workers strike over "poverty pay"

LONDON - Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers including teachers, council workers and firefighters staged a 24-hour pay strike on Thursday in a stoppage that has prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to pledge a crackdown on union powers.

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China, U.S. to boost security ties, but no breakthroughs

BEIJING - China and the United States agreed on Thursday to boost military ties and counter-terrorism cooperation during high-level annual talks in Beijing, but there was little immediate sign of progress on thorny cyber-security or maritime issues.

China, World 8:46am EDT

Kerry faces uphill battle to defuse Afghan election standoff

KABUL - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive to a sceptical audience in Afghanistan this week to try to resolve a deepening crisis over a disputed presidential election which has stirred ethnic tensions in the fragile country.

World, Afghanistan 8:52am EDT

Seized nuclear material in Iraq 'low grade': U.N. agency

VIENNA - The U.N. atomic agency said on Thursday it believed nuclear material which Iraq said had fallen into the hands of insurgents was "low grade" and did not pose a significant security risk.

World, United Nations, Iraq 7:29am EDT

Australian minister under fire for not meeting Tamil groups on Sri Lanka trip

COLOMBO - A Tamil group criticised Australia's immigration minister on Thursday for visiting northern Sri Lanka without meeting Tamil leaders, days after Australia returned a boat of asylum seekers, including Tamils, under its hardline border security policy.

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Engine fire triggers new turbulence for Lockheed's F-35 jet

RAF FAIRFORD England - Borne of the last downturn in U.S. military spending in the 1990s, Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was intended as a quick and affordable way for the United States and its allies to replace thousands of aging F-16s and other warplanes while avoiding the pitfalls of earlier programs.

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World cities, home to most people, to add 2.5 billion more by 2050: U.N.

UNITED NATIONS - More than half of the world's seven billion people live in urban areas, with the top "mega cities" - with more than 10 million inhabitants - being Tokyo, Delhi, Shanghai, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, according to a United Nations report on Thursday.