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TOP STORIES

Egypt's Mursi scraps decree but fails to appease opponents

CAIRO - Egypt's president has scrapped a decree that gave

him extra powers and ignited violent protests, but irate

opponents say he has deepened the crisis by pressing on with a

vote on a constitution shaped by Islamists (EGYPT-POLITICS

(UPDATE 4, PIX, TV), expect by 1700/1200 ET, by Edmund Blair,

900 words)

+ See also:

- EGYPT POLITICS/COST (PIX), moved, by Tom Perry and Edmund

Blair, 1,200 words

Jihadist-backed rebels take Syria army command post

BEIRUT - Syrian rebels backed by radical Islamists capture a

northern command centre of President Bashar al-Assad's army,

activists say, as Russia dismisses speculation it is preparing

for its ally's possible exit from power. (SYRIA-CRISIS (WRAPUP

1, PIX, TV), expect by 1600 GMT/1100 ET, by Erika Solomon, 900

words)

- SYRIA-CRISIS/RUSSIA (UPDATE 1), moved, 250 words

- LEBANON-TRIPOLI/ (PIX, TV), moved, by Oliver Holmes and

Nazih Siddiq, 930 words

Chavez suffers cancer recurrence, names potential successor

CARACAS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returns to Cuba

for more surgery after a recurrence of cancer leads him to name

a successor for the first time, a sign the disease may force an

end to his 14-year rule (VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ/ (UPDATE 2, PIX, TV),

moved, by Brian Ellsworth and Daniel Wallis, 800 words)

+ See also:

- VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ/CANCER (FACTBOX), moved, 350 words

- VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ/MADURO (FACTBOX), moved, 400 words

Italy prepares for election as Monti set to quit

ROME - Italy's political parties begin manoeuvring ahead of

elections as backers of outgoing technocrat Prime Minister Mario

Monti try to cajole the ex-European Commissioner to stay in

politics and seek a new term to ease a political and financial

crisis. Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi plans to run on

a platform attacking Monti's economic policies. (ITALY-VOTE

(UPDATE 2, PIX, TV), expect by 1600/1100 ET, by Steve Scherer,

600 words)

+ See also:

- ITALY-BERLUSCONI/NEWSMAKER, moved, by Gavin Jones, 700

words

AFRICA

Ghana opposition cries foul in presidential election

ACCRA - Ghana's main opposition party urges electoral

officials to delay publication of results from a presidential

poll it says has been marred by fraud. The statement risks

triggering unrest in a country eager to burnish its reputation

as a rare pillar of African democracy. (GHANA-ELECTION/ (TV,

PIX, UPDATE 2), expect by 1600/1100 ET, by Kwasi Kpodo and

Richard Valdmanis, 800 words)

EUROPE

Making France work again

ECUEILLE, France - Shirt manufacturer Marc Roudeillac was

delighted when 48 of the 49 staff in his factory in central

France voted to adapt their strict 35-hour week contracts to

meet the up-and-down demand of the fashion trade. Then the

labour inspector stepped in and ruled the contracts must not be

changed. It is a telling insight into a France struggling with

itself: the France whose appetite for work sits uneasily with

the France whose priority is to sustain one of highest standards

of living in the world. (FRANCE-WORK (INSIGHT, GRAPHICS), moved,

by Mark John, 1,900 words)

Romanians vote in poll that may reopen political spat

BUCHAREST - Romania's prime minister is headed for victory

in parliamentary elections that could set off another round of a

power struggle with the rightist president and complicate talks

for a new IMF deal. Polls will close at 1900 GMT, with first

results due early on Monday. (ROMANIA-POLITICS (UPDATE 2, PIX,

TV, GRAPHICS), expect by 1700 GMT/1200 ET, by Sam Cage and Radu

Marinas)

+ See also:

ROMANIA-POLITICS/FACTBOX, moved, 300 words

Ukraine PM Azarov named for new term, faces IMF

KIEV - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich names Mykola

Azarov for new term as prime minister, opting for a tried and

tested lieutenant rather than take a risk on a newcomer as

economic problems mount. (UKRAINE-YANUKOVICH/AZAROV (UPDATE 2),

movd, by Richard Balmforth, 550 words)

German Social Democrats crown Merkel challenger Steinbrueck

HANOVER, Germany - Germany's opposition Social Democrats

(SPD), eager to return to power after next September's election,

nominate ex-finance minister Peer Steinbrueck at special party

congress as chancellor candidate to run against Angela Merkel

(GERMANY-POLITICS/SPD, PIX, TV), expect by 1600/1100 ET, by Erik

Kirschbaum, 700 words)

MIDDLE EAST

Netanyahu: Hamas's Gaza jubilation proves Israel is at risk

JERUSALEM - Hamas's pledge to vanquish Israel after claiming

"victory" in last month's Gaza conflict vindicates Israel's

reluctance to relinquish more land to the Palestinians, Prime

Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says. (PALESTINIANS-HAMAS/NETANYAHU,

moved, by Dan Williams, 680 words)

+ See also:

- PALESTINIANS-HAMAS/UNITY, moved, by Nidal al-Mughrabi and

Noah Browning, 600 words

- PALESTINIANS-MESHAAL/GAZA (NEWSMAKER, UPDATE 1, PIX, TV),

moved, by Samia Nakhoul, 1,600 words

ASIA

China's Xi hits nationalist note with talk of 'revival'

SHANGHAI - In his first three weeks as China's Communist

Party boss, Xi Jinping has shown himself to be more confident,

direct and relaxed than his predecessor - but also quick to

invoke nationalist themes to win public support and legitimacy.

(CHINA-XI, PIX), moved, by John Ruwitch, 825 words)

Weakened typhoon set to make second landfall in Philippines

NEW BATAAN, Philippines - A much-weakened storm is set to

make landfall in the Philippines' northwest, five days after the

year's strongest typhoon killed 540 people and caused crop

damage worth about 8 billion pesos ($195.38 million) in the

south. (PHILIPPINES-STORM/ (PIX, TV), moved, by Erik de Castro,

550 words)

N.Korea looks set to delay controversial rocket launch

SEOUL - North Korea will likely postpone the launch of a

long-range rocket, state news agency KCNA says, but gives no

reasons for delaying the plan which has been widely condemned by

countries including Russia and the United States. (KOREA-NORTH/

(UPDATE 1), moved, 260 words)

UNITED STATES

On the edge of the "cliff", U.S. cities like Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C., - On a recent afternoon, Joseph P. Riley

Jr, mayor for 37 years, reached for a draft copy of next year's

spending plan and wondered aloud about what might get cut should

politicians in Washington fail to find an agreement this month,

unleashing $600 billion worth of spending reductions and tax

hikes next year. (USA-FISCAL/CHARLESTON, moved, by Samuel P.

Jacobs, 1,140 words)

Same-sex couples say "I do" in U.S. states for first time

SEATTLE - As midnight chimed in Washington state, a lesbian

couple exchanged vows in the first of hundreds of mass weddings

on Sunday - the first day that same-sex couples can legally tie

the knot there. Washington, Maine and Maryland became the first

U.S. states to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples by a

popular vote in November, in a leap forward for gay rights.

(USA-GAYMARRIAGE, PIX, TV), moved, by Laura L. Myers, 600 words)

CLIMATE

Poor to seek UN climate change compensation scheme in 2013

DOHA - Developing nations will push next year for a radical

U.N. mechanism to compensate them for the impact of climate

change, such as droughts or rising sea levels, despite

reluctance among wealthy states which would have to foot the

bill. (CLIMATE-TALKS/INSURANCE), moved, by Alister Doyle, 600

words)

U.S., China turned EU powers against airline pollution law

BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON - The European Union's landmark effort

to charge foreign airlines for carbon emitted on flights in and

out of Europe was already failing by the time French President

Francois Hollande shared his deep concerns with the European

Commission chief in October. (EU-AIRLINES/CLIMATE (INSIGHT),

moved, by Barbara Lewis and Valerie Volcovici, 1,550 words)

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