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Belgian college's concerns over Paris attacker ignored: newspapers

Belgian college concerns ignoredA police commission is interviewing staff at a Brussels college after education authorities failed to act on concerns that a student who later became one of the Paris suicide bombers had been radicalized, two Belgian newspapers said on Saturday.

Bilal Hadfi, 20, named as one of the attackers who detonated a suicide bomb outside the Stade de France in Paris on Nov. 13, attended the Anneessens-Funck college in Brussels until he dropped out in February to travel to Syria.


Top Syrian rebel leader killed in air strike

Syrian rebel leader killedA top Syrian rebel leader and head of the most powerful insurgent group in the eastern suburbs of Damascus was killed in an aerial raid that targeted the group's headquarters, rebel sources and the Syrian army said on Friday.

The death of Zahran Alloush, 44, head of Jaysh al Islam, is a big blow to rebel control of the rural eastern suburban area of Damascus known as al Ghouta, the rebels said.


Jailed reporter sends colleagues 'Season's Greetings' from Iran prison

Jason RezaianJailed Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, who has been held in prison in Iran for more than 500 days, was allowed a Christmas Day visit from his wife and mother on Friday.

The Post's Tehran correspondent was handed an unspecified prison term last month, following his conviction on spying and other charges.

Rezaian, 39, who holds both U.S. and Iranian citizenship, was charged with espionage, collaboration with hostile governments, gathering classified information and spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Post editors have repeatedly denied the accusations against their reporter and called for his release.


Late-night earthquake rattles Pakistani capital, Afghanistan

Earthquake afghanistanA strong earthquake shook parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan early Saturday, rattling buildings and forcing sleeping residents out of their homes.

More than 30 people were injured as houses or walls collapsed in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, said emergency rescue service spokesman Bilal Ahmed Faizi. A total of 41 people were taken to hospitals in the city, according to doctors and rescue officials.


Kei Taniguchi, pioneering female mountaineer, dies in fall from peak

Kei TaniguchiThe Japanese mountaineer Kei Taniguchi has died in an accident while climbing in the snowy Daisetsuzan range in northern Japan’s Hokkaido. She was 43.

Taniguchi, who climbed Mount Everest in 2007, became the first woman to win the prestigious Piolet d’Or (Golden Ice Axe) mountaineering award in 2009. A friend and fellow climber, Hiroshi Hagiwara, said on Friday that she fell while taking a break on Mount Kurodake, a peak of 1,984 metres (6,510ft), as she and four companions were descending.


Turkish 'cleansing' operation rocks southeastern cities

Cizre attackeed by TurksExplosions and gunfire resounded around the southeastern Turkish town of Cizre on Friday after a clash overnight that the army said killed six Kurdish militants and one soldier, as a security operation there entered its 11th day.

Since a two-year ceasefire between Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants and Ankara fell apart in July, the mainly Kurdish southeast has been plunged back into a three-decades-old conflict which has killed more than 40,000 people.


Dozens killed in Nigerian truck fire as they lined up for gas refills in time for Christmas

gas tank fire in Nigeria kills dozensDozens of Nigerians queuing to fill their gas bottles for Christmas were killed when a huge explosion ripped through the gas plant, sparking a blaze that lasted over five hours.

The explosion happened on Christmas Eve, when a truck was discharging butane gas at the facility in Nnewi town in Anambra state, and a crowd of customers refilled gas bottles.

President Muhammadu Buhari's office said "tens of people" who had been looking forward to their Christmas celebrations had been killed, without giving a precise toll.


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