Reuters World News Highlights 2215 GMT Feb 20

TOP STORIES

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AMRITSAR, India - David Cameron on Wednesday became the

first serving British prime minister to voice regret about one

of the bloodiest episodes in colonial India, a massacre of

unarmed civilians in the city of Amritsar in 1919.

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TUNIS - Tunisian leaders began the search for a new prime

minister on Wednesday to try to lead the North African nation

out of its gravest political crisis since an uprising that

inspired a wave of Arab revolts two years ago.

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PRETORIA - A witness heard "non-stop shouting" in the home

of South African athletics star Oscar Pistorius shortly before

his girlfriend was shot dead, the detective leading the murder

investigation said on Wednesday.

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ROME - Regardless of who wins next weekend's parliamentary

election, Italy's long economic decline is likely to continue

because the next government won't be strong enough to pursue the

tough reforms needed to make its economy competitive again.

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YAOUNDE - French special forces have arrived in northern

Cameroon to help locate a French family who were kidnapped on

Tuesday and moved to Nigeria, a local governor said on

Wednesday.

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WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta formally

notified Congress on Wednesday that the Pentagon plans to put

civilian defense employees on unpaid leave this year if $46

billion in across-the-board budget cuts take effect on March 1.

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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama turned to local

television stations across the United States on Wednesday to

increase public pressure on congressional Republicans to avert

$85 billion in budget cuts set to begin in nine days.

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WASHINGTON - One-time Democratic Party rising star Jesse

Jackson Jr., weeping and repentant as his famous father looked

on, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to misusing about $750,000 in

campaign funds on luxuries such as fur capes and a Rolex watch.

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WASHINGTON - The White House said on Wednesday it will step

up diplomatic pressure and study whether tougher laws are needed

to stop a wave of trade secret theft from China and other

countries in a strategy that offered few new ideas for dealing

with the threat.

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HAVANA - A U.S. congressional delegation left Cuba on

Wednesday after meetings with President Raul Castro and other

top officials, but no sign the countries had resolved their

latest dispute: the fate of imprisoned U.S. contractor Alan

Gross.

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NEW DELHI - Boeing Co has found a way to fix battery

problems on its grounded 787 Dreamliner jets that involves

increasing the space between the lithium ion battery cells, a

source familiar with the U.S. company's plans told Reuters.

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday said

Michigan cannot retry a defendant whose arson case had been

thrown out by a trial judge who mistakenly required state

prosecutors to prove more than they needed.

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