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  1. National

China: Syria must heed calls

China's prime minister has warned Syria and the Middle East that the call for democracy from their people must be ''respected and truly responded to''.

Premier Wen also admitted that urgent political and economic reform in China is needed.

  1. Angus Walker

Plain clothes police issued with fire extinguishers

A plain-clothes security team Credit: Angus Walker

A team of plain-clothes security police wait outside the room where Premier Wen Jiabao is delivering his annual press conference.

The squad has been issued with small fire extinguishers, perhaps in response to the spate of self-immolations in protest at what some see as China's occupation of Tibet.

More than 20 Tibetan monks and nuns have set themselves on fire in last year, mainly in south-west China.

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