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In Russia, Sudan's Bashir asks Putin for 'protection' from US

Sochi - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes, on Thursday asked Russia's Vladimir Putin to protect his country from the United States.

Don't mention the war: Ukraine off the agenda at EU summit

Brussels - The EU's bid to deepen ties with six former Soviet states enters its latest round in Brussels on Friday with anxiety about Russian influence running higher than ever in the bloc.

In 'unprecedented' hiatus, IS media offline for a day

Birut - The Islamic State group's online propaganda channels went mysteriously quiet for more than a full day between Wednesday and Thursday, in what analysts said was an "unprecedented" silence.

Indonesia basketball players fixed games 'to pay their salaries'

Jakarta - Eight Indonesian pro-basketball players and a team official have been banned for life over match fixing, the league said Thursday, reportedly to help their cash-strapped squad pay salaries.

5th round of NAFTA talks end in Mexico with big issues unresolved

Mexico - The 5th round of NAFTA talks ended on Tuesday that had started on Friday in Mexico City, Mexico. Even after 3 months of talks, the three parties still remain far apart on major issues.

Zimbabweans relish bribe-free roads after Mugabe's fall

Harare - As Robert Mugabe's regime tottered and fell, one immediate benefit that Zimbabweans celebrated with glee was the sudden absence of bribe-extracting police who were a symbol of life under his rule.

Iraq launches final sweep to flush out IS

Baghdad - Iraqi forces launched a sweep through the western desert to flush out remaining Islamic State group fighters on Thursday, an operation the prime minister has said will spell the jihadists' "final defeat" in the country.

Polar bears crowd on Russian island in sign of Arctic change

Moscow - A boatload of tourists in the far eastern Russian Arctic thought they were seeing clumps of ice on the shore, before the jaw-dropping realisation that some 200 polar bears were roaming on the mountain slope.

Outdated law makes gene-editing using CRISPR illegal in Canada

Toronto - Canada is among the few countries in the world where working with the CRISPR gene-editing system is illegal under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA). Not only is it illegal, but doing so could land you behind bars.

After Mladic verdict, Bosnia has yet to turn page

Sarajevo - The international court has finished its work and Bosnian Serb wartime military chief Ratko Mladic will end his days in prison, but Bosnia will struggle to turn the page on its ethnic war.

Dolly the cloned sheep was not old before her time: study

Paris - When Dolly the sheep was put down before her seventh birthday in 2003, she was said to suffer from age-related osteoarthritis, raising red flags that clones may grow old faster.

Battery stores solar energy for heating later

Boston - Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a remarkable battery that can capture solar energy and then store the energy to be used as heat at a later point in time. The energy is released on exposure to light.

Erdogan to make first Turkish presidential visit to Greece 'since 1952'

Istanbul - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will in the coming days visit Turkey's sometimes uneasy NATO ally Greece, a top official said Thursday, the first visit by a Turkish head of state to its neighbour in 65 years.

Russian billionaire Kerimov charged in France following Moscow protest

Nice - Russian billionaire senator Suleyman Kerimov was charged Wednesday with tax fraud in Nice, hours after Moscow protested his arrest in the French Riviera resort.

An outpost of Catholicism in Myanmar prepares for the Pope

Father William's 16-strong flock on Myanmar's eastern border is one of the Catholic Church's tiniest outposts, but next week they will join a tide of 200,000 faithful in Yangon for a historic mass led by Pope Francis.

Britain sends envoy to Zimbabwe ahead of inauguration

London - Britain's Africa minister Rory Stewart arrived in Zimbabwe on Thursday for wide-ranging talks, ahead of the inauguration of a new president following Robert Mugabe's dramatic departure.

Srebrenica's ghost still haunts Dutch as UN court closes

Den Haag - As a UN war crimes court gears up to close its doors next month after two decades of putting on trial the worst offenders of the 1990s Balkans wars, a long shadow remains in The Netherlands.

China forges 'strategic' ties with Djibouti after opening base

Bejing - Chinese President Xi Jinping and Djibouti's visiting leader Omar Ismail Guelleh, whose African nation is hosting China's first overseas military base, agreed on Thursday to elevate their nations' diplomatic relations.

Chinese firm probes if children work in African mines

Bejing - A Chinese metal trading firm said Thursday it is investigating whether children are toiling in Congolese mines that supply it with cobalt, a key resource for mobile phones and electric cars.

PNG police start removing refugees from Australia camp

Sydney - Papua New Guinea police raided a shuttered Australian detention camp Thursday, removing dozens of refugees in an effort to end a stand-off that has drawn global attention to Canberra's tough asylum-seeker policies.
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