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Pope Benedict XVI has called for peace in the Middle East following a hostage-taking incident in a church in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad which left dozens of people dead.

Five people have been killed in separate incidents in Iraq and at least seven others have been injured a day after a deadly bombing killed about 30 people north of Baghdad.

UN peacekeepers monitoring a fragile 2005 peace deal between north and south Sudan could not stop new hostilities between the northern and southern armies, the UN peacekeeping chief said on Monday.

Some eighteen Islamic countries have submitted their latest productions to the 27th edition of the Tehran International Short Film Festival (TISFF).

The New York Public Library has mounted an exhibition which explores three of the worlds most followed religions through their sacred texts.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called on all regional countries to work for better relations and establish lasting peace and security.

A senior Iranian commander lambasted Washington for its continued violation of human rights inside and outside the US, stressing that the White House officials should go on trial in an international tribunal for their criminal deeds.

A senior Iranian legislator lashed out at the US double-standard policy on terrorism, stressing that Washington is the main supporter of state-sponsored terrorism in the world.

Italy has mounted an exhibition of Islamic artworks in the city of Milan, which features pieces from the dawn of Islam until the modern era.

Afghanistans new peace council said on Thursday it would be willing to make concessions to bring insurgents to the negotiating table, and called for Saudi Arabias help in mediating peace talks.

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