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President Putin

HRH Prince Saud al Faisal, Saudi Arabia's long serving Foreign Minister, talked to Defence Viewpoints in Riyadh today. He's calling for greater efforts from the international community to resolve the Syria crisis, but "nobody is asking for a military force to conquer all of Syria." Read more below.

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Afghan News Roundup for March 2014 is compiled by Elayne Jude for Great North News Service

On the playing fields of Khorasan

FIFA and the International Football Association Board have lifted a ban on female players wearing head coverings.

Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, president of the Asian Football Confederation, praised the decision. Officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan assume that the ending of the ban will result in more orthodox Muslim women competing in sports.

Head scarves were banned because of fears that players who wore them risked injury to their head or neck. New designs with safety features began testing in 2012.

/more

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This week, Vladimir Putin was sworn in for a third term as Russian president, andFrance's presidential election continued the trend of losses for incumbent European governments when French President Nicolas Sarkozy lost to socialist challenger Francois Hollande.Putin's return to the presidency was not unexpected; he was never really unseated as Russia's leader even during Dmitri Medvedev's presidency. Nevertheless, the changes in Europe exemplified by the French presidential election will require Russia to change its tactics in Europe.

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