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Palestinian congress to meet next month
AFP, Ramallah
The Palestinian congress will meet next month for the first time in years, official media announced Wednesday, as president Mahmud Abbas plans a response to US policies.
The Palestinian National Council, a congress representing those in the Palestinian territories and the diaspora, has not met in regular session since 1996 amid political infighting between Abbas's secular Fatah party and Islamist movement Hamas.

Japan PM hails N Korea talks on basis of denuclearization
AFP, Tokyo
Japan's prime minister on Friday welcomed the surprise announcement of a summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un by May.. "I highly appreciate North Korea's change that it will begin talks on the premise of denuclearisation," Shinzo Abe said, adding that he planned to visit the United States to meet Trump "as early as April".

Aid convoy enters Syria's battered Ghouta
AFP, Beirut
An aid convoy entered Syria's battered Eastern Ghouta Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said, after a previous delivery was cut short by bombardment of the rebel enclave. "They are in," ICRC spokeswoman Ingy Sedky said of the 13 trucks loaded with 2,400 food parcels that had been waiting outside the enclave east of Damascus after the interruption of Monday's delivery.

African non-nationals asked to leave Libya
Xinhua, Tripoli
Libya's eastern-based army on Thursday set a March 17 deadline for nationals from neighboring African countries to leave southern Libya in order to curb the erupting violence there, warning else they would be removed by force. A statement issued by the army led by General Khalifa Haftar set March 17 as "the deadline for their departure from the Libyan territory", saying, "After this date, they will be removed by force using all possible means, both land and air."

Floods hit Queensland
Reuters, Sydney
Floods swamped parts of the Australian state of Queensland on Friday, covering pastureland and cutting off towns as swollen rivers inundated about 200 homes. "There's water as far as the eye can see," said James Wyld by phone from the bar of the Julia Creek Hotel in western Queensland's grazing country.

Blast kills 7 in Afghan capital
Reuters, Kabul
A suicide bomber blew himself up in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Friday, killing at least seven people in an attack apparently intended to hit crowds gathered to commemorate a political leader from the mainly Shi'ite Hazara minority, officials said. One policeman and six civilians were killed and seven civilians wounded when the bomber was stopped at a security checkpoint.

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News in brief

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