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Germany's Christian Democrats voted on Monday to approve a coalition with the arch-rival Social Democrats after Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her conservatives to swallow some of their misgivings and back the deal. Merkel won September's election but fell short of a majority and struck an agreement on November 27 for a "grand coalition" with the centre-left SPD. All 474,000 SPD members are now voting on it in a postal ballot whose results are expected this weekend. "It's taken us nearly three months to form a government and now it's time to get to work," Merkel told the 181 CDU delegates at a special party congress called to vote on the coalition deal. Facing volatile street protests and the mass resignation from Parliament of the main opposition party, Thailand’s prime minister on Monday called for fresh elections, the latest in a series of attempts to defuse anger against her political party and her powerful family. “Let the people decide the direction of the country and who the governing majority will be,” the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, said in a televised statement on Monday morning. But the call for elections, which are not due until 2015, did not satisfy protest leaders who led tens of thousands of demonstrators through the streets of Bangkok on Monday. By midafternoon, the police said the number of protesters had reached well above 100,000 people Iran and six world powers began expert-level talks on Monday to work out nitty gritty details in implementing a landmark accord for Tehran to curb its disputed nuclear program in return for a limited easing of sanctions. The preliminary accord is seen as a first step towards resolving a decade-old standoff over suspicions Iran might be covertly pursuing a nuclear weapons "breakout" capability, a perception that has raised the risk of a wider Middle East war. President Nicolas Maduro's government won a majority of votes in Venezuela's local elections on Sunday, disappointing the opposition and helping...