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I was having some serious network troubles, and now running sudo apt-get update gives this error:

Hit ftp://ftp.is.co.za experimental/contrib i386 Packages
Reading package lists... Error!
E: Encountered a section with no Package: header
E: Problem with MergeList /var/lib/apt/lists/ftp.is.co.za_debian_dists_testing_main_binary-i386_Packages
E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.

It's an odd one because I've never seen it before. Have you experienced it? How can I fix it?

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The file was corrupted somewhere. I thought running apt-get update would fix it. If it doesn't, remove the file (sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/ftp.is.co.za_debian_dists_testing_main_binary-i386_Packages) and try apt-get update. If that still downloads a broken file, there may be an invalid entry in a cache somewhere between you and the server. Try using a different Debian mirror for a couple of days.

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I strongly suspect that your approach would work. I've Accepted mine though because it's what I used (which was just before I saw your Answer). – Tshepang Mar 1 '11 at 5:13
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Steps to fix:

  1. Disable Testing suite
  2. sudo apt-get update
  3. Re-enable Testing suite
  4. sudo apt-get update
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