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Editor: Nick Macfie + 65 6870 3815

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TOP STORIES

Senate vote likely on U.S. 'fiscal cliff' deal

WASHINGTON - The White House and Senate leaders strike a

bipartisan deal to try to avoid a "fiscal cliff" budget crisis,

although the agreement is likely to face stiff challenges in the

House of Representatives. (USA-FISCAL/ (WRAPUP 10, PIX), moved,

by Kim Dixon Jeff Mason, 450 words)

+ See also:

- USA-FISCAL/DIVE (ANALYSIS), moved, by David Lawder and

Fred Barbash, 670 words)

- USA-FISCAL/OBAMA (UPDATE 1), moved, 468 words

- USA-FISCAL/CHINA, moved, 400 words

- USA-FISCAL/DEBT-CEILING (UPDATE 1), moved, 297 words

Assad's forces push to retake Damascus suburb

AMMAN - Elite Syrian government troops backed by tanks

battle to recapture a strategic Damascus suburb from rebels who

have advanced within striking distance of the centre of Syria's

capital. (SYRIA-CRISIS/ (WRAPUP 1, PIX, TV), moved, by Khaled

Yacoub Oweis, 930 words)

+ See also:

- SYRIA-CRISIS/WEAPONS, (PIX), moved, by Yara Bayoumy, 736

words

Bombs kill 23 across Iraq as sectarian strife grows

BAGHDAD - At least 23 people are killed and 87 wounded in

attacks across Iraq, police say underlining sectarian and ethnic

divisions that threaten to further destabilise the country a

year after U.S. troops left. (IRAQ-VIOLENCE/ (UPDATE 4), moved,

by Kareem Raheem, 732 words)

Egypt's leader sees currency stabilising "within days"

CAIRO - Egypt's pound falls to a record low as the president

signals his government will allow it to depreciate slowly for

several more days to stop a drain on foreign reserves that has

driven the economy into crisis since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

(EGYPT-CURRENCY/(UPDATE 4), moved, by Patrick Werr and Yasmine

Saleh, 1,119 words)

+ See also:

- EGYPT-ISRAEL/OFFICER (UPDATE 1), moved, 400 words

AMERICAS

Venezuela's Chavez in stable condition, says son-in-law

CARACAS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in stable

condition and spends Monday with his daughters, the

cancer-stricken leader's son-in-law says in an appeal for

supporters to ignore rumors about his condition.

(VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ/ (UPDATE 1, moved, pix, tv, 600 words)

+ See also:

- VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ/MADURO (ANALYSIS, TV, PIX), moved, by

Daniel Wallis and Brian Ellsworth, 1,100 words

UNITED STATES

Clinton suffers clot behind right ear, full recovery seen

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary

Clinton suffers a blood clot in a vein between her brain and

skull behind her right ear but is expected to make a full

recovery, her doctors say in a statement released by the State

Department. (USA-CLINTON/HEALTH (UPDATE 4, PIX), moved, by

Arshad Mohammed and Jilian Mincer, 800 words)

ASIA

North Korean leader seeks end to confrontation with South

SEOUL - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un calls for an end to

confrontation between the two Koreas, technically still at war

in the absence of a peace treaty to end their 1950-53 conflict,

in a surprise New Year speech broadcast on state media.

(KOREA-NORTH/, moved, by Jack Kim, 500 words)

Top Afghan negotiator optimistic over peace prospects

KABUL - A top Afghan peace negotiator says he is cautiously

optimistic about prospects for reconciliation with the Taliban

and that all sides now realise a military solution to the war is

not possible. (AFGHANISTAN RECONCILIATION/ (INTERVIEW, UPDATE 2,

PIX), moved, by Michael Georgy and Hamid Shalizi, 850 words)

EUROPE

Monti aims for Italy vote majority, pro-Europe alliance

ROME - Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti says he

is aiming to win a majority in a parliamentary election in

February and will seek alliances with parties agreeing with his

pro-Europe agenda. (ITALY-VOTE/MONTI (UPDATE 1), moved, by

Catherine Hornby, 741 words)

AFRICA

Rwanda vows to help on Congo at UN, assails 'blame game'

UNITED NATIONS - Rwanda warns it will not tolerate attempts

to blame it for a rebel insurgency in eastern Congo but vows to

use its two-year U.N. Security Council stint to help put an end

to the conflict that has destabilized its much larger

neighbor.(UN-COUNCIL/RWANDA, moved, by Louis Charbonneau, 880

words)

CAR rebels say split over peace talks offer

BANGUI - Rebels in Central African Republic are split over

whether to start peace talks with President Francois Bozize or

carry on an assault to overthrow him, a spokesman says, leaving

efforts to end the conflict hanging in the balance. (CAR-REBELS/

(UPDATE 2), moved, by Ange Aboa, 800 words)

MIDDLE EAST

Turkey discussing disarmament with Kurdish leader -aide

ISTANBUL - Turkey has begun discussing disarmament with

Kurdish militants after concluding that it is unlikely to defeat

them militarily, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's chief adviser

says. (TURKEY-KURDS/PKK (UPDATE 1), moved, by Seda Sezer, 627

words)

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Olympics, elections and horsing around in odd 2012

LONDON - Presidential preening, golden Olympic gaffes, a

royal windfall for a skydiving British queen on her diamond

jubilee and the endless end of days marked the odd stories in

2012 which pranced across the news in Gangnam Style.

(ODD-YEARENDER/, moved, by Paul Casciato, 1,107 words)

+ See also:

- NEWYEARS-TIMESSQUARE/ (PIX, TV), moved, by Peter Rudegeair

Greg Roumeliotis, 750 words

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