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UN: Iraq violence kills at least 1,100 in February

Iraqi deathsThe U.N. mission to Iraq said Sunday that violence claimed the lives of at least 1,100 Iraqis in February, including more than 600 civilians.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement that 611 civilians were among 1,103 people killed last month, with the rest hailing from the security forces. It said at least 2,280 people were wounded, including 1,353 civilians. January's death toll was at least 1,375.

The most violent city was the capital Baghdad, with 329 civilians killed and 875 wounded, it said.
The U.N. numbers do not include the third of the country held by the Islamic State extremist group.

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Italian MPs overwhelmingly approve recognition of Palestine

Matteo RenziItalian lawmakers backed a non-binding resolution on Friday urging the government to recognize Palestine as a state.

Italy’s Chamber of Deputies voted by 300 to 45 to pass the motion presented by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party, the Italian news site repubblica.it reported on Friday.

The resolution urges the government “to recognize the state of Palestine so that negotiations to reach a two-state solution are restarted.”

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Egypt courts list Hamas as terrorist group, give Brotherhood leader life

Egypt declares Hamas terroristsAn Egyptian court listed the Palestinian group Hamas as a terrorist organization, judicial sources said on Saturday, part of a sustained crackdown on Islamists in the most populous Arab state.

In a separate case earlier in the day, a court sentenced the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's top leader Mohamed Badie to life in prison while other members received the death penalty.

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Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov shot dead in Moscow

Boris NemtsovProminent Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has been shot dead in Moscow . Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and a sharp critic of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was reportedly shot four times in the chest by a killer in a passing car.

The killing took place in the very centre of Moscow late on Friday evening on a bridge near St Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin, two days before Nemtsov was due to lead a major opposition rally in Moscow.

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American blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

Avijit Roy killedMachete-wielding assailants hacked to death an American blogger in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, in the latest of a series of attacks in the South Asian nation on writers who support free expression.

The attack comes amid a crackdown on hard-line armed groups, which have increased their activities in Bangladesh in recent years.

Avijit Roy, a U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi origin, and his wife and fellow blogger, Rafida Ahmed, were attacked on Thursday while returning from a book fair at Dhaka University. Ahmed was seriously injured. It was the latest in a series of recent attacks on secular writers in Bangladesh.

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'Jihadi John' from Islamic State beheading videos unmasked as Londoner

Jihad JohnInvestigators believe that the "Jihadi John" masked fighter who fronted Islamic State beheading videos is a British man named Mohammed Emwazi, two U.S. government sources said on Thursday.

He was born in Kuwait and comes from a prosperous family in London, where he grew up and graduated with a computer programming degree, according to the Washington Post.

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Jamaica Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Pot

Jamaica decriminalizes potMarijuana has been pervasive but illegal in Jamaica for decades, consumed as a medicinal herb, puffed as a sacrament by Rastafarians and sung about in the island's famed reggae music.

After many years of dialogue about the culturally entrenched drug, and emboldened by changes to drug laws in U.S. states, Jamaica's Parliament on Tuesday night gave final legislative approval to an act decriminalizing small amounts of pot and establishing a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry.

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