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Aid convoy enters besieged Syrian towns in ‘test’ for warring sides

Damascus / AFP Trucks carrying aid entered four besieged towns in Syria on Wednesday, in what the United Nations described as a test for the country’s warring sides ahead of a hoped-for ceasefire. The Red Crescent said trucks laden with supplies entered Moadimayet Al Sham, near Damascus, the first delivery of aid since world powers agreed on an ambitious plan ...

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Dozens of Syria health facilities attacked: MSF

Beirut / AFP More than 60 health facilities in Syria supported by the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charity were hit in attacks last year, with a dozen completely destroyed, the group said on Thursday. In a new report, MSF warned Syria’s health infrastructure “has been decimated”, with frequent aerial assaults and shelling of hospitals and clinics, in violation of international ...

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Beijing deploys surface-to-air missile on ‘disputed island’

Bloomberg China deployed surface-to-air missiles this month on a contested island in the South China Sea, keeping tensions high even as leaders of Southeast Asian nations pledged to try and peacefully resolve territorial disputes in the waters. Satellite images showed two batteries of eight HQ-9 surface-to-air missile launchers and a radar system on Woody Island, part of the Paracel chain ...

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Mugabe’s ‘deputy’ sets up new party

Harare / AFP Zimbabwean former vice president Joice Mujuru announced on Wednesday that she is forming a new party to challenge President Robert Mugabe’s all-powerful ZANU-PF, in a move that could shake up the country’s politics. Mugabe, who turns 92 on Sunday, has ruled since independence in 1980 during an era marked by vote-rigging, mass emigration, accusations of human rights ...

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Ukraine in political gridlock as bid to oust premier fails

Bloomberg Ukraine headed for a standoff between its two most powerful politicians after Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk defied President Petro Poroshenko’s call for his resignation and defeated a no-confidence motion in parliament. The result threatens to conserve political gridlock that’s jeopardizing the economy and billions of dollars of foreign aid. The motion to remove Yatsenyuk can’t be repeated during the ...

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Uganda ready for ‘peaceful’ polls

Uganda / AFP Ugandan election officials on Wednesday said they were expecting presidential and parliamentary polls to pass off peacefully, a day before seven candidates challenge veteran leader Yoweri Museveni’s three-decade grip on power. “The stage is set. We have dispatched electoral materials to all polling stations throughout the country and are ready to kick off the exercise,” national electoral ...

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Direct ‘Turkey-Russia clash’ brews on Syrian border

Bloomberg There’s only one major group of combatants in the Syrian war that’s backed by both Russia and the US—and now Turkey is attacking it. For a fourth day on Tuesday, Turkey unleashed its 155- millimeter heavy guns across the border with Syria. The targets were Kurdish forces, whose recent advance is a key part of the Russian plan to ...

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USA flies F-22 in show of force to N Korea

Yangon / Bloomberg The US Air Force flew four F-22 fighter jets through South Korean airspace in the latest show of force against North Korea over its nuclear test and long-range rocket launch. The flight took place on Wednesday south of Seoul alongside South Korean F-15 fighter jets and demonstrated “the resolve of both nations to maintain stability on the ...

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3 Dead in Philippines as troops, rebels clash

Manila / AFP Three civilians were killed in a roadside bomb explosion in a remote Philippine region where the army and Muslim rebels have engaged in sporadic fighting for days, police said on Wednesday. Muslim insurgents booby-trapped a highway to target military convoys, but it detonated when a van with six people aboard drove through late Tuesday, according to a ...

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Boko Haram bombs cut 3mn Nigerians from outside world

Bloomberg A twin bombing that killed 58 people at a camp in a northeastern Nigerian town last week underlies the destructive capacity of extremist militant group Boko Haram two months after President Muhammadu Buhari said they had been defeated. The camp at Dikwa stands in a town where shops and homes have been deserted by residents who fled Boko Haram’s ...

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