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Morning Briefing: Horse meat found in IKEA meatballs

Louie Palu/The Globe and Mail

A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe's news desk on Feb. 25, 2013.

IKEA meatballs pulled after traces of horse meat discovered

IKEA has halted sales of its meatballs in its Italian outlets over concern the product may include horse meat. In the latest development in Europe's widening horse meat scandal, the Swedish furniture giant says it will halt the sale after a Czech food regulator discovered traces of horse meat in some meatballs. The company said "our meatballs must be made of beef and pork" and that it would conduct tests of its products.

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South Africa to probe allegations of mass rapes in Zimbabwe

South Africa will investigate allegations that political operatives of Robert Mugabe were involved a campaign of mass rape during the 2008 elections. The investigation comes after former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations Stephen Lewis and others asked South Africa to open a case. Legal teams have gathered evidence from 84 alleged victims and have amassed evidence against more than 200 suspects.

Syria ready for talks with rebels?

Syria's foreign minister has suggested his government is willing to enter talks with rebels. Walid al-Moallem told Russian officials that Damascus was "ready for a dialogue" though it wasn't clear what, if any, conditions were applied to the offer. The civil war in Syria is entering its second year and has claimed more than 70,000 lives.

U.K. cardinal resigns over allegations

Britain's highest ranking Roman Catholic cleric is stepping down over allegations of "inappropriate" behaviour toward fellow priests. The allegations have been denied by Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who was set to retire next month when he turned 75. His resignation, which has been accepted by the Vatican, means the Cardinal will not participate in the upcoming conclave to elect a new pope to replace Benedict.

Cash-strapped Ontario looks at privatizing lotteries

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Ontario looks set to cash in on its cash cow: the provincial lottery business that raked in $3.2-billion in revenue and $1-billion in profit last year. The province is looking to award a contract for the operation of lotteries, which under law will remain owned by Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., the largest lottery business in Canada and the eighth biggest in North America. Camelot Group PLC, owned by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, is believed to be one of the parties interested in a bid.

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