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2 arrested in Canada terror plot

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Two men were arrested Monday after being charged with plotting a terrorist attack set for a Canadian passenger train, CBS News said.

Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35, who are believed to be supported by al Qaeda, were targeting a Via Rail passenger train in Toronto, Yahoo! News said, but the Royal Canadian Mounted Police did not believe they were an immediate threat.

"It was definitely in the planning stage but not imminent," RCMP chief superintendent Jennifer Strachan said, according to CBS News.

Esseghaier and Jaser are being charged with conspiring to execute an attack and murder people in association with a terrorist group, Yahoo! News said.

"This is the first known al-Qaida planned attack that we've experienced in Canada," Superintendent Doug Best said at a news conference, according to CBS News.

Venezuelans vote for new president

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The people of Venezuela went out Sunday to vote on who would succeed Hugo Chávez, CBS News said.

Choices included Nicolás Maduro, Chávez's personal choice for political heir, or Henrique Capriles Radonski, a second-time opponent, the New York Times said.

"The commander's legacy should continue, toward a better future," Alejandro Rodríguez, 34, said, according to the New York Times. "I voted for the commander's son, Nicolás Maduro." Maduro used the term of endearment in his campaign to highlight how close he was with Chávez.

Although Maduro started out with a great lead, Capriles urged his followers to not be "desperate and defeated," by his slow start, CBS News said.

"Capriles ran a remarkable campaign that shows he has creativity, tenacity and disposition to play political hardball," said David Smilde, an analyst with the Washington Office on Latin America think tank, according to CBS News.

Stephanie Guevarra, who voted for Capriles Sunday, said whatever the voters decide, Chávez's death has already brought change to Venezuela. "It's not the same country with Chávez as it is without him," she said, according to the New York Times.

North Korea begins "state of war" with South

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North Korea announced it was entering a "state of war" with South Korea Saturday after Kim Jong Un made a call to arms, NBC News said.

"From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly," the North's official KCNA news agency said in a statement, according to the Chicago Tribune.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden insisted the U.S. was taking North Korea's threats seriously, although it "has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats," she said, according to NBC News.

The North and South have a long history of disagreement, though tensions have increased since February, when the North carried out its third nuclear weapons test, NBC News said.

Recent HIV drugs cure 14 adults

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Researches in France have discovered that immediate treatment after HIV may be possible to cure one out of 10 people diagnosed early after analyzing 14 HIV patients who appear to be completely cured, BBC News said.

The study consisted of 70 people with HIV who had been treated with antiretroviral drugs between 35 days and 10 weeks after they were infected, which is sooner than people typically receive treatment, the New Scientist said.

Four women and 10 men were able to quit ARVs without any signs of relapse after taking the drugs for an average of three years, the New Scientist said.

"They still have HIV, it is not eradication of HIV, it is a kind of remission of the infection," Dr. Asier Saez-Cirion from the Institute Pasteur in Paris said, according to BBC News.

"Whether they'll control it forever, or whether it'll be for a number of years and subsequently they will progress and the virus will reappear, we don't know."

New pope elected

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VATICAN CITY - The chimney of the Sistine Chapel released white smoke Wednesday, symbolizing that a new pope has been chosen, Telegraph said.

The new pope's name will not be released until his first appearance on a balcony on the front of St. Peter's Basilica, the New York Times said.

"It was like waiting for the birth of a baby, only better, " a Roman man said, according to the New York Times.

The new pope will have to deal with the many hardships facing the Church, including the scandal of sexual abuse of children by paedophile priests going back decades - and the cover-up of their actions by senior prelates, Telegraph said.

He was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, despite the lack of a clear front-runner going into the vote and Pope Benedict XVI's abrupt resignation, Telegraph said.


Queen Elizabeth II to sign equal rights charter

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Queen Elizabeth is set to sign a charter on Monday supporting equal rights in the 54-member Commonwealth states, BBC News said.

The 16-point document has been getting attention for it's stance on gender equality and what it may symbolize for the future of gay rights, NPR said.

The charter states, ""We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds," BBC News said. The document also covers democracy, rule of law, international security and freedom of expression.

The queen will deliver a speech Monday commemorating Commonwealth Day, marking the first official event she has attended since leaving the hospital earlier this week, BBC News said.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez dies

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Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez died Tuesday, BBC News said, according to his vice-president.

Chavez, 58, first announced he had cancer in June 2011. He went to Cuba in December for surgery, but returned to Venezuela in February.

"We must unite now more than ever," Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who Chavez indicated as his choice for successor, said, according to CNN.

Venezuela's Constitution requires the country to hold elections within the next 30 days, though it is unclear who will lead until then, CNN said.

Pistorius granted bail

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PRETORIA, South Africa - Oscar Pistorius was freed on bail Friday after becoming suspect of murdering his girlfriend, the New York Times said.

Pistorius, 26, said he believed his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, 29, was a burglar in the shooting that took place on Feb. 14, according to the New York Times.

"I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail," Magistrate Desmond Nair said, after the prosecutors could not convincingly argue that Pistorius was a flight risk, CNN said.

Bail was set at one million rand, or roughly $112,000, the New York Times said. Pistorius also had to hand in his guns and passport.

Robbery hits Brussels Airport

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Eight men dressed as police officers stole $50 million worth of Antwerp brand diamonds Monday from a Zurich-bound plane, the New York Times said.

Without shooting a single bullet, the men held up the Helvetic Airways ground staff workers and the pilot as they unloaded up to 120 packets of diamonds from the cargo hold, the New York Times said.

"They were professionals," Brussels Prosecutor's Spokeswoman Anya Bijnens said, according to BBC News, regarding the robbers, who used police marked vehicles and quality arms to execute their job.

Brussels Airport has fallen victim to three other robberies, all of the same kind, since the mid-1990s, the New York Times said.

"It was incredible how easy it all went," Antwerp Representative Caroline De Wolf said. "This is worrying in terms of competitiveness, since other diamond centres are ready to pounce and take over our position,'' BBC News said.

There are no further comments from the airline's spokesman, the New York Times said.

Pope resigns unexpectedly

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Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he will be resigning on Feb. 28 due to his age, the New York Times said.

Benedict had said years ago that he would consider stepping down if his health became an issue, CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen said, according to CNN, however many were shocked to see the time come so soon.

Benedict is the first pope in centuries to resign, New York Time said, and Vatican officials said they hoped to find a successor by Easter.

Benedict is expected to retire to a monastery, devoting the rest of his life to his faith, Vatican Spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said, according to CNN.

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