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Thursday, Oct 02nd

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Somali pirate: $1.6 million ransom paid for journalist

Somali piratesNegotiators paid a $1.6 million ransom for the release of a German-American journalist who was kidnapped in Somalia and held for two years and eight months, a commander of pirates who held him said Wednesday. Michael Scott Moore was "doing well" and receiving medical care, Germany's Foreign Ministry said.

Moore, 45, was flown to Kenya's capital after being freed in Somalia on Tuesday. A special German Foreign Ministry crisis group and German federal police had worked "very closely" with U.S. authorities to win Moore's freedom after he was kidnapped on Jan. 21, 2012, while researching a book on piracy, foreign ministry spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli told The Associated Press in Berlin.

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Israeli forces kill two Palestinians suspected of murdering teenagers

IDF kills suspectsThousands of mourners have attended the funerals of two Palestinian men suspected of the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers three months ago, an event that triggered a sequence of actions leading to the 50-day war in Gaza.

Marwan Qawasmeh, 29, and Amer Abu Aisha, 32, were shot dead in a pre-dawn gunfight on Tuesday with Israeli special forces who had fired a rocket at a house in Hebron where the pair had been hiding. Three other men were arrested.

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Afghan President Karzai warns successors to beware of US

KarzaiPresident Hamid Karzai has used his last speech in office to warn the new Afghan government to beware of the US.

In a national address before leaving the presidential palace, Mr Karzai said the peace process had failed because "America did not want peace".

The US ambassador said the remarks dishonoured America's war dead. Mr Karzai has long attacked the US for causing too many civilian casualties.

A national unity government takes power on Monday after a bitterly fought vote.

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Spain Drops Plan to Ban Most Abortions

spain scraps abortion banSpanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday announced his government would shelve plans for a tough new law on abortions, saying there was not enough support for the legislation.

The draft reform, approved in January, would have allowed abortions only in cases of rape which had been reported to the police or when there was a medically-certified threat to the mother's physical or psychological health.

Current legislation will now be revamped to ensure that 16 and 17-year-olds have to obtain parental permission before having an abortion, meaning that the most controversial aspects of the planned reforms will fall by the wayside.

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Israel military shoots down Syrian aircraft

Syrian MIGThe Israeli military shot down a Syrian fighter jet that infiltrated its airspace over the Golan Heights on Tuesday morning — the first such downing in decades, heightening tensions in the volatile plateau.

The military said a "Syrian aircraft infiltrated into Israeli air space" in the morning hours and that the military "intercepted the aircraft in mid-flight, using the Patriot air defense system."

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3 missing Afghan officers detained at Canadian border

Training base, Cape Cod, Mass.Three senior Afghan military officers who failed to return to a U.S. training base in Cape Cod, Mass., were taken into custody Monday while trying to cross into Canada, according to a spokesman for the Massachusetts State Police.

State police spokesman David Procopio said federal authorities were interviewing the officers at Rainbow Bridge checkpoint in Niagara Falls, N.Y., but provided no further details.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said earlier that the three officers did not appear to pose a threat to the public and may have been trying to defect.

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Ashraf Ghani elected president of Afghanistan

Ashraf GhaniAfghanistan's presidential election, more than three months after voters headed to the polls.

By early July, preliminary election results showed Ghani, the country's finance minister, had a lead over challenger Abdullah Abdullah in the June 14 run-off election.

Abdullah challenged those results and called for an audit — overseen by the United Nations and paid for by the U.S. government — to be performed on the results.

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