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Tuesday, Jan 27th

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Islamic State group threatens to kill 2 Japanese hostages

Japanese hostages The Islamic State group threatened to kill two Japanese hostages unless they receive $200 million in 72 hours, directly demanding the ransom Tuesday from Japan's premier during his visit to the Middle East. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to save the men, saying: "Their lives are the top priority."

Abe and other Japanese officials declined to discuss whether they'd pay the ransom for captives Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, though their armed forces generally only operate in a self-defense capacity at home. Their kidnapping also immediately recalled the 2004 beheading of a Japanese backpacker in Iraq, carried out by the Islamic State group's predecessor over Japan's involvement in the U.S.-led war there.

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Prosecutor who accused Argentine president of bombing cover-up found dead

alberto nismanA special prosecutor who had accused Argentine President Cristina Fernandez of shielding Iranian suspects as part of a cover-up in the investigation of a deadly 1994 attack has been found shot dead, authorities said Monday.

Alberto Nisman, who was set to testify Monday in a Congressional hearing about the bombing of a Jewish center — in which 85 people were killed — was found in the bathroom of his Buenos Aires apartment late Sunday, federal prosecutor Viviana Fein told Telam, Argentina's official news agency.

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Iran general killed with Hezbollah fighters in Israel raid

iran general killedAn Israeli strike on Syria killed an Iranian general, Tehran confirmed Monday, as thousands of supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah gathered to bury one of six fighters killed in the same raid.

The attack on Sunday near Quneitra on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights enraged Hezbollah's supporters, but analysts said the group would avoid a major escalation with Israel.

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Miss Lebanon's selfie with Miss Israel stirs up controversy in Middle East

miss lebanon selfieWhat started as a selfie with several Miss Universe contestants on a tour of South Florida has blown into a political storm.

Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, is facing backlash back home after she posed for a picture snapped by Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, according to the Beirut-based Daily Star.

Matalon posted the photo to Instagram on Jan. 11 of herself next to Greige, along with Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan. The picture shows the four smiling beauty queens in Miami with the caption "Good morning from us!"

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Boko Haram stages attacks in Cameroon, Nigeria

boko haramSuspected Boko Haram fighters from Nigeria kidnapped around 80 people, most of them children, and killed three others on Sunday in a cross-border attack on villages in northern Cameroon, army and government officials said.

"According to our initial information, around 30 adults, most of them herders, and 50 young girls and boys aged between 10 and 15 years were abducted," a senior army officer deployed to northern Cameroon told Reuters.

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Ireland’s Health Minister Comes Out

Irish health ministerMinister for Health Leo Varadkar has come out publicly this morning, saying he is a “gay man”.

“I am a gay man, it’s not a secret, but not something that everyone would necessarily know but isn’t something I’ve spoken publicly about before,” he told Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio 1.

“It’s not something that defines me,”he said. “I’m not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter. It’s just part of who I am, it doesn’t define me, it is part of my character I suppose”.

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Israel kills son of Hezbollah's late military chief in Syria: Hezbollah sources

Israel kills son oh hezbolla leaderAn Israeli helicopter strike in Syria killed five members of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement including the son of group's late military leader Imad Moughniyah, sources close to Hezbollah said, in an attack that has the potential to trigger reprisals.

Israel's military declined to comment, but Israel's Ynet news Web site quoted an Israeli military source as saying the attack had targeted "terrorists who intended to attack Israel".

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