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Saturday, Jan 21st

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Northern Island power-sharing in crisis as Sinn Fein leader to quit

Martin McGuinnessNorthern Ireland's power-sharing government was plunged into crisis Monday as the senior Catholic leader announced he was quitting in a showdown with his Protestant colleague that could unravel a central achievement of peacemaking.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, the former Irish Republican Army commander who has helped to lead the unity government for nearly a decade, said in his resignation letter that he intends to trigger early elections in protest against his power-sharing partner, First Minister Arlene Foster.

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Suicide bombs kill at least 23 in Baghdad

Suicide bomb BaghdadAt least 23 have been reported dead in a series of suicide bomb attacks in Baghdad. It's the second weekend in a row marred by a wave of deadly attacks.

The first attack took place in the Shia district of Alwat-Jamila, a neighborhood in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad. A suicide bomber drove an explosives-filled truck into a crowd of people shopping at the city's main vegetable market. The attack killed 13 -- according to several reports -- and wounded at least 25 others. A similar attack claimed 35 lives on Monday, January 2.

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Former Iran president Rafsanjani dies of heart attack

RasfanjaniFormer Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died on Sunday at the age of 82, state media reported, a big blow to moderates and reformists deprived now of their most influential supporter in the Islamic establishment.

"Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani was taken to hospital after heart attack and more than an hour long efforts by doctors to revive him were not successful," the deputy minister of health was quoted by Fars news agency as saying.

Residents said a crowd gathered outside the hospital in northern Tehran where Rafsanjani was taken.

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Deadly attack as truck rams into soldiers in Jerusalem

Deadly attack on Israeli soldiersAt least four Israeli soldiers have been killed and several more wounded after a truck rammed into the troops in Jerusalem with authorities calling it a deliberate attack.

Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith, reporting from Jerusalem, said the driver of the attacking vehicle was shot dead following the incident on Sunday.

"Disturbing CCTV shootage shows the truck coming down the street, clearly the driver spotted the soldiers when he hit them," Smith said.

At least 10 soldiers were trapped under the truck but later rescued with three in critical condition, he quoted a medical official as saying.

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UK MPs urge probe into Israeli plot against politicians

israelis trying to take down UK MPsSenior members of parliament have slammed comments made by an Israeli diplomat on plans to "take down" the UK's deputy foreign secretary over his criticism of Israel's settlement policy in the occupied West Bank.

Emily Thornberry, the Labour Party's shadow foreign secretary, called the statements by Shai Masot - a  senior political offficer at the Israeli embassy in London - "extremely disturbing" and demanded a probe into the potential extent of political "interference" in the United Kingdom.

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Gunman shoots, wounds US consular official in Mexico

guadalajaraMexican prosecutors said Saturday they are searching for a gunman who opened fire on an official of the U.S. consulate in the western city of Guadalajara.

The Attorney General's Office said Saturday the official was wounded in the attack Friday in Guadalajara.  Surveillance video of the attack shows the gunman following the official in a parking garage. The official, whose name was not released, was dressed in shorts.

The shooting appeared to be a direct attempt to kill the consular employee.

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Car bomb kills dozens in northern city of Azaz

Car bombing SyriaAt least 43 people have been reported killed after a car bomb struck Syria's northwestern city of Azaz, according to a monitor group.

Dozens were also wounded in Saturday's attack, which took place in front of a court, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights added.  The group said the toll was likely to rise.

The attack was the latest in a string of bombings to hit Azaz, a city located near the border with Turkey, 16km south of the Turkish city of Kilis.

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