Afghan Forces Battle to Push Back Taliban in Helmand

By Mohammad Stanekzai LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, Dec 23 – Afghan forces on Wednesday battled Taliban fighters who overran the district of Sangin in the southern province of Helmand this week after reinforcements and NATO military advisers were rushed in to try to stop another district falling into insurgent hands. Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai said

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Ukraine Health System in Danger of Collapse as Reforms Stall

By Alessandra Prentice STAIKY, Ukraine, Dec 23 – Paint is flaking on the damp walls and cracked ceilings of the small hospital in the Ukrainian village of Staiky and much of the equipment is over 30 years old. Running hot water is not guaranteed and the hospital, serving about 2,800 people in Staiky and other

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Malala Calls For End to Syrian War, Welcomes Syrian Campaigner to U.K.

By Andy Bruce NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, England, Dec 23 – Nearly two years after they met in a refugee camp in Jordan, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai on Tuesday welcomed the Syrian schoolgirl activist Muzoon Almellehan to her new home in northern England. Malala, who moved to Britain in 2012 after being shot in the head

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Trump Gets Obscene Describing Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Run

By Doina Chiacu and Emily Stephenson WASHINGTON, Dec 22  – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump used a vulgarity to describe Hillary Clinton’s loss to Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential race and then derided her over the time she took for a bathroom break during a debate. Trump’s off-color comments about the Democratic front-runner

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Newspaper Reports Google Developing New Messaging App

Dec 22 – Google, part of Alphabet Inc, is building a new mobile messaging application to better compete with rival services such as those offered by Facebook Inc, The Wall Street Journal reported. The new service would tap into Google’s artificial intelligence know-how, integrating chatbots, or software programs that answer questions, inside a messaging app,

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Turkish Central Bank Holds Interest Rates in Surprise Move

ISTANBUL, Dec 22 – Turkey’s central bank left its main one-week repo interest rate unchanged at 7.5 percent on Tuesday, a surprise move likely to heighten concern about threats to its independence and heap more pressure on a struggling lira currency. Analysts and investors have repeatedly called for a rate hike to rein in inflation

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Iraqi Troops Storm into Center of Daesh-held Ramadi

BAGHDAD, Dec 22 – Iraq’s armed forces stormed the center of Ramadi on Tuesday, a spokesman for the counter-terrorism units said, in a drive to dislodge Daesh militants from their remaining stronghold in a city they captured in May. The operation to recapture Ramadi, a Sunni Muslim city on the river Euphrates some 100 km

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Jewish “Militants” Attack Palestinian Home With Tear Gas

By Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM, Dec 22 – Tear gas grenades were thrown into a Palestinian home on Tuesday in what Israeli police believe was an attack by Jewish militants angered by the detention of comrades suspected of killing a Palestinian toddler and his parents in July. No one was hurt in the incident overnight in

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Refugee and Migrant Arrivals in EU Pass 1 Million in 2015: U.N.

By Tom Miles GENEVA, Dec 22 – The number of refugees and migrants arriving by land and sea in the European Union has passed 1 million this year, while a further 3,600 died or went missing, the U.N. refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday. Half of those arriving were Syrians

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