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Taliban gunmen kill 17 in attack on Pakistan air force base

Taliban attack in PakistanTaliban gunmen stormed a Pakistani air force base early on Friday, killing at least 17 people, most of whom were offering prayers in a mosque, a military spokesman said, the deadliest such attack in years.

The assault shows the Taliban retain the capability to mount devastating attacks despite a military campaign and tougher government measures against them following the massacre of more than 150 people at an army-run school last December.


US eases rules for travel, doing business in Cuba

US eases travel and trade rules on CubaThe Obama administration eased rules Friday for U.S. citizens wishing to travel to Cuba or do business with its growing ranks of independent entrepreneurs, hoping to kindle greater economic freedom on the island.

The Treasury and Commerce departments said the regulations that take effect Monday simplify procedures for tourism, telephone and Internet investments, and money transfers to Cuba.


Deaths from South Sudan oil truck blast rise to more than 100

Sudan truck explosionMore than 100 people were killed in South Sudan when an oil tanker that had veered off the road exploded as a crowd tried to gather fuel from the vehicle, a regional official said on Thursday, a day after the incident.

In addition to more than 100 dead from Wednesday's blast, Charles Kisagna, the minister of information in Western Equatoria, said about 50 people were seriously injured.


More than 1,000 pilgrims evacuated during Saudi hotel fire

Saudi fireMore than 1,000 pilgrims in Saudi Arabia were safely evacuated from a hotel in Mecca after a fire broke out on Thursday ahead of the hajj, emergency officials said.

Authorities said the blaze started on the eighth floor of an 11-story hotel in Mecca's Aziziya neighborhood.

Saudi civil defense officials said two pilgrims were being treated for injuries from the fire.


Thwarted by Hungary's closed borders, refugees head to Croatia

Refugees walk to CroatiaFor the Serbian bus driver and his bosses, a day of easy money was suddenly becoming complicated — but potentially even more lucrative than expected.

Just as the driver was closing the doors on his bus, with about 60 refugees crammed inside, to rumble off on a 10-mile trip from their makeshift camp in Kanjiza to the border with Hungary at Horgos, his passengers revolted — or rather, announced they wanted to go separate ways.


West 'ignored Russian offer in 2012 to have Syria's Assad step aside'

Syria catastropheRussia proposed more than three years ago that Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, could step down as part of a peace deal, according to a senior negotiator involved in back-channel discussions at the time.

Former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari said western powers failed to seize on the proposal. Since it was made, in 2012, tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions uprooted, causing the world’s gravest refugee crisis since the second world war.


Pope Francis Endorses Iran Nuclear Deal

Pope Francis endorses Iran dealThe Vatican endorsed the Iran nuclear accord Monday as a positive step towards its broader goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.

“We hope that the full implementation of [the nuclear deal] will ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme under the [Non-Proliferation Treaty] and will be a definitive step toward greater stability and security in the region,” Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican's foreign minister, said in a statement delivered at the International Atomic Energy Association in Vienna.


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