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Saturday, Feb 06th

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Main Syrian opposition team heads to Geneva as peace talks open

Syrian Opposition joins peace talksA delegation from Syria's main opposition group flew to Geneva on Saturday to assess whether to join Damascus government officials in United Nations-brokered peace talks, an opposition representative said.

The 17-strong team included the head of the Saudi-backed Higher Negotiation Committee (HNC), which includes political and militant opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's five-year civil war.

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The Latest: 39 die as boat sinks, bodies line Turkey shore

   39 drown as bodies line Turkey shoreAt least 39 migrants, including several children, have drowned trying to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece, coastguards say.

More than 60 have been rescued from the sea near the Turkish resort of Ayvacik.  Local officials say they expect the death toll to rise when the capsized boat is searched.

Thousands of refugees and migrants continue to make the dangerous sea journey from Turkey to Greece to seek asylum in northern Europe.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday that 244 migrants had drowned in the Mediterranean so far this year, out of 55,568 arrivals.

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France: We will recognize Palestinian state if talks deadlock persists

French give Israel an ultimatumFrance warned Friday that it will recognize a Palestinian state if its imminent efforts to end the deadlock in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians end without result.

"France will engage in the coming weeks in the preparation of an international conference bringing together the parties and their main partners, American, European, Arab, notably to preserve and make happen the solution of two states,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

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Huge intel breach: US, UK have spied on Israeli air force for 18 years

Israeli droneUS and British intelligence services have spied on the Israeli air force for at least 18 years, after cracking the IDF’s special encryption system for communication between fighter jets, drones and army bases, Israel’s military censor approved for publication Friday, after reports of the spying operation appeared in two overseas publications.

The two countries have reportedly used this access to monitor IDF operations in Gaza, watch for a potential Israeli strike on Iran, and keep tabs on the drone technology that Israel exports. Israel said later Friday it was disappointed but not surprised by the revelations.

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4 Chinese miners rescued after 36 days trapped underground

Chinese miners rescuedRescuers on Friday pulled out four miners who had spent 36 days trapped underground in a collapsed mine in eastern China.

The gypsum mine in Shandong province collapsed on Christmas Day, killing one and leaving 17 missing, including the four survivors. In the days that followed, rescuers detected the four more than 200 meters (660 feet) below the surface.

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Syria talks at risk as rival sides fail to agree terms

Syria talks at risk of failureThe main Syrian opposition bloc has said it will not attend peace talks scheduled to begin in Geneva on Friday, in another setback to diplomatic efforts to end the five-year-long war.

The High Negotiations Committee (HNC), an opposition platform created in Saudi Arabia last month, said its delegation would not attend the talks because they had not received convincing answers from the UN to a set of demands for their participation.

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Shinzo Abe: Japan won't fight Islamic State

Japan PM AbeJapan does not plan to join the international coalition against the Islamic State, the armed group also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday Japan's Self-Defense Forces would not be joining others in combat in the Middle East, TIME reported.

Tokyo's assistance would be limited to humanitarian needs instead, according to the Mainichi Shimbun.

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