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Afghanistan avalanche toll rises to 162 amid rescue efforts in snowbound valley

A senior Afghan military officer says the death toll from an avalanche caused by heavy winter snows in a mountainous valley northeast of the capital Kabul has risen to 162. READ

Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria seize more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. READ

Some 20,000 Egyptians flee Libya after beheading video, airstrikes

An Egyptian border official says some 20,000 Egyptians have fled Libya since the release of a grisly beheading video by Islamic State militants. READ

Three arrested in NY, Florida on charges they plotted to go to Syria to join Islamic State

Three men accused of plotting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State and wage war against the United States were arrested on terrorism charges Wednesday, federal officials said. READ

Jurors say ex-Marine convicted of killing ’American Sniper’ author Kyle knew right from wrong

Jurors who rejected an insanity defence and convicted a former Marine in the deaths of famed “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle and his friend said Wednesday the man’s past behaviour undermined his argument that he couldn’t tell right from wrong. READ

Egyptian president issues new law, broadening state’s powers in anti-terrorism campaign

The Egyptian president has issued a law that broadens the state’s definition of terrorism to include anyone who threatens public order “by any means,” and gives authorities powers to draw up lists of alleged terrorists with little judicial recourse. READ

Ukrainian disputes rebel claim they are beginning a heavy weapons pullback

Russian-backed separatists moved some heavy weapons well back from the front line Tuesday in eastern Ukraine, but the Ukrainian government disputed the rebels’ claim that a real pullback had begun. READ

Militants from Islamic State group abduct at least 70 Christians in northeastern Syria

The Islamic State militants struck before dawn, staging house-to-house raids in a cluster of villages nestled along the Khabur River in northeastern Syria. They abducted at least 70 Christians — many of them women and children — while thousands of others fled to safer areas. READ

Obama vetoes Keystone XL pipeline bill

President Barack Obama has vetoed a bill that would have approved construction of the privately funded Canadian Keystone XL oil pipeline. READ

Girl suicide bomber kills herself, 4 others in blast at market in northeastern Nigeria

A girl as young as 10 blew herself up in a busy market in northeastern Nigeria, killing herself and four others, and fueling fears Islamic extremists are using kidnapped girls as suicide bombers. READ

Ukraine says weapons pullback not yet possible because rebel attacks are continuing

Ukraine delayed a promised pullback of heavy weapons from the front line Monday, blaming continuing attacks from separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. READ

Former British ministers deny wrongdoing after being caught in lobbying sting

Two former senior British ministers denied wrongdoing Monday after being caught in a hidden-camera sting appearing to offer access to politicians and diplomats in return for cash. READ

U.S. jury: Palestinian authorities liable for Israeli terror attacks, $218.5M in damages awarded

The Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority were the catalysts for a series of terrorist attacks in the early 2000s in Israel that killed or wounded several Americans, a U.S. jury found Monday at a high-stakes civil trial. READ

Mohamed Fahmy voices frustration as retrial postponed to next month

A Canadian journalist who had been imprisoned for more than a year in Egypt expressed frustration Monday as his retrial on widely-denounced terror-related charges was postponed to next month. READ

Obama intends to quietly kill off Keystone XL bill, White House confirms

President Barack Obama is about to make good on his oft-stated threat to veto legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline, a spokesman announced Monday. READ

Latest Snowden leak: NSA helped British spies hack Dutch company to break into mobile phones

Britain’s electronic spying agency, in co-operation with the U.S. National Security Agency, hacked into the networks of a Dutch company to steal codes that allow both governments to seamlessly eavesdrop on mobile phones worldwide, according to the documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden. READ

Islamic State militants kill dozens in suicide bombings in eastern Libya

Islamic State militants unleashed suicide bombings Friday in eastern Libya, killing at least 40 people in what the group said was retaliation for Egyptian airstrikes against the extremists’ aggressive new branch in North Africa. READ

As battle-ravaged Ukraine town regains peace, fear of new fighting tests nerves

Almost every building was gravely damaged, nearly every window smashed in this Ukrainian town left unrecognizable by months of relentless shelling. Children played in the rubble where their homes once stood, while neighbours boiled water in open fires as temperatures dipped below freezing. READ

'Superbug’ outbreak at Los Angeles hospital infects 7, including 2 who died, and exposes 179

Contaminated medical instruments are to blame for infecting seven patients, including two who died, with a potentially deadly “superbug” at a Los Angeles hospital, officials said. A total of 179 patients have been exposed to the antibiotic-resistant bacteria. READ

Cossack fighters laugh, hug, pose for pictures as they take control of key east Ukrainian town

Rebel fighters, many of them Cossacks, roamed the streets of Debaltseve on Thursday, a day after Ukrainian forces began withdrawing from the besieged town. The mood was celebratory, with fighters laughing, hugging each other and posing for photos. READ

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