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Leaders head to Ukraine peace summit under shadow of Putin demands

World leaders headed to Switzerland on Saturday for a first summit on peace in Ukraine, after Vladimir Putin demanded Kyiv effectively surrender if it ultimately wants negotiations with Moscow.

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Iran starts up cascades of advanced centrifuges as tensions rise over nuclear program

Iran has started up new cascades of advanced centrifuges and plans to install others in the coming weeks after facing criticism over its nuclear program, the United Nations' atomic watchdog said Friday. The U.S. called the moves "nuclear escalations."

Spinning up new centrifuges further advances Iran's nuclear program, which already enriches uranium at near-weapons-grade levels and boasts a stockpile enough for several nuclear bombs if it chose to pursue them. However, the acknowledgement from the International Atomic Energy Agency did not include any suggestion Iran planned to go to higher enrichment levels amid wider tensions between Tehran and the West as the Israel-Hamas war rages in the Gaza Strip.

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Putin says Ukraine must withdraw troops, end NATO bid for peace talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said Moscow would cease fire and begin peace talks "immediately" if Ukraine pulled back troops from four regions and gave up its NATO membership bid.

"As soon as Kyiv says it is ready to do this and begins really withdrawing troops and officially renounces plans to join NATO, we will immediately, literally that very minute, cease fire and begin talks," Putin said at a meeting with Russian diplomats in Moscow.

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Peace summit for Ukraine opens in Switzerland

Switzerland will host scores of world leaders this weekend to try to map out first steps toward peace in Ukraine even though Russia, which launched and is continuing the war, won't take part.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's government didn't want Russia involved, and the Swiss — aware of Moscow's reservations about the talks — didn't invite Russia. The Swiss insist Russia must be involved at some point, and hope it will join the process one day.

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Russia, Ukraine exchange drone, missile attacks

Kyiv and Moscow staged dozens of drone and missile attacks overnight, officials said Friday, leaving several wounded in Ukraine and damaging a fuel reservoir site in a Russian border region.

The two sides have stepped up cross-border aerial assaults in recent weeks, with Kyiv targeting Russian energy facilities and Moscow launching retaliatory barrages.

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G7 leaders tackle migration on second day of Italy summit

Leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations are turning their attention to migration on the second day of their summit Friday, seeking ways to combat trafficking and increase investment in countries from where migrants start out on often life-threatening journeys.

The gathering in a luxury resort in Italy's southern Puglia region is also discussing other major topics, such as financial support for Ukraine, the war in Gaza, artificial intelligence and climate change, as well as China's industrial policy and economic security.

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Macron defends decision on snap legislative elections, urges voters to defeat far-right

French President Emmanuel Macron defended his decision to call snap parliamentary elections after his party's crushing defeat in the European parliamentary vote, insisting on Wednesday that voters will ultimately choose the "progressive bloc" over the far-right.

In France, legislative elections decide the makeup of the parliament, not the occupant of the presidential Elysee Palace. Macron has a presidential mandate until 2027, and said he would not step down before the end of his term.

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Milei's radical overhaul passes Argentina's Senate as protesters clash with police

Argentina's Senate narrowly approved President Javier Milei 's sweeping proposals to slash state spending and boost his own powers on Thursday, handing the libertarian leader a much-needed first legislative victory even as opposition senators scrapped an income tax package and tweaked some contentious parts of the plan.

Senate president Victoria Villarruel, the vice president, used a tie-breaking vote to give provisional approval to two bills after a daylong heated debate while thousands of protesters poured into the streets, burning cars and throwing Molotov cocktails. Hundreds of federal security forces pushed back with tear gas and water cannons.

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Israel-Hamas war roils congressional race between 2 Democrats in New York

The war between Israel and Hamas is roiling a congressional primary election between two Democrats in New York, reflecting a divide that has splintered the party nationally since the conflict began last year.

U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, one of several House liberals who have questioned the Biden administration's vigorous support for Israel's response to the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on civilians in southern Israel, is facing a tough challenge from centrist George Latimer, a top county official who entered the race with the backing of Jewish leaders in a mostly suburban district north of New York City.

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Italy hosts G7 summit with global conflicts on the agenda

A Group of Seven summit is opening Thursday with agreement on a U.S. proposal to back a $50 billion loan to Ukraine using frozen Russian assets as collateral, giving Kyiv a strong show of support even as Europe's political chessboard shifts to the right.

Diplomats confirmed that an agreement had been reached on the deal before the leaders even landed in southern Italy for the three-day summit. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is on hand and is expected to sign a separate bilateral security agreement with U.S. President Joe Biden.

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