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Tuesday, Feb 09th

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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.

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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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Hostages from 1979 Iranian embassy takeover granted millions in compensation after 36 years

Iran Hostages to get reparationsAmerican hostages who were taken at the U.S. embassy in Iran during the Islamic revolution three decades ago will finally receive payment for the ordeal, thanks to the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week.

Buried in the spending bill are provisions that grant each of the 53 hostages financial compensation for enduring the 444-day ordeal, which spanned between November 1979 and January 1981. The amount per hostage varies, but the bill stipulates that each hostage -- or their relatives -- can receive as much as $4.4 million each.

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Syria agrees to join Geneva peace talks

Syria agrees to join peace talksSyria is ready to participate in peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending its civil war, the country's foreign minister said during an official visit to China.

"Syria is ready to participate in the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva without any foreign interference," Walid Muallem said during a press briefing on Thursday, following his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

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Despite Protests, Japan to Restart 2 Nuclear Reactors

Japanese protest reactor openingsA Japanese court has cleared the way for Kansai Electric Power Co. to restart two of its nuclear reactors early next year.

The Fukui District Court on Thursday removed an injunction preventing the operation of Kansai Electric’s Takahama No. 3 and No. 4 nuclear reactors, Tadashi Matsuda, a representative for the citizen’s group that initiated the case, said by phone. The court also rejected a demand by local residents to block the resumption of reactor operations at Kansai Electric’s Ohi plant.

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Deadly fire rips through Saudi hospital

Fire in Saudi hospitalAt least 25 people have been killed and 107 injured in a fire at a hospital in Jizan, Saudi Arabia, authorities said.

The Saudi civil defence directorate said in a post on Facebook that the fire at the Jizan General Hospital started at about 2.30am local time.

It is not yet known what caused the blaze, which began on the first floor of the hospital. The intensive care unit and maternity ward are both on the first floor.

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Amnesty: Russian airstrikes in Syria killed 200 civilians; possible war crimes

Russians kill 200 civilians- Amnesty International has criticized Russia for conducting airstrikes in Syria that allegedly killed at least 200 civilians within two months.

Although Moscow insists it only targets "terrorist" groups, the human rights organization accuses Russia of using cluster bombs in civilian areas, which could constitute war crimes. As an ally to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia deems both the Islamic State and rebel groups opposing Assad as "terrorists."

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