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Friday, Feb 12th

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Taiwan opposition wins presidency, China warns against independence move

Taiwan PresidentTaiwan's independence-leaning opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen won a convincing victory in presidential elections on Saturday and pledged to maintain peace with giant neighbor China, which warned it would oppose any move towards independence.

Tsai, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), will be thrust into one of Asia's toughest and most dangerous jobs, with China pointing hundreds of missiles at the island it claims, decades after losing Nationalists fled from Mao Zedong's Communists to Taiwan in the Chinese civil war in 1949.

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Burkina Faso: Gunmen take hostages after storming Hotel Splendide

Burkina Faso attackPolice are battling with masked jihadi gunmen near a four-star business hotel in Burkina Faso's capital tonight, amid an ongoing hostage situation.

Two car bombs exploded outside the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou's business district before several gunmen stormed the hotel.

Security forces arrived as the men fired in the air to disperse the gathering crowd and soon engaged in a fierce gunfight with the suspected jihadis as cars burned around them.

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Turkey detains academics who denounced military operations against Kurds

Turkey jails dissidentsTurkish police on Friday detained 15 academics who were among more than 1,000 scholars who signed a declaration denouncing military operations against Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The move deepens concerns about freedom of expression under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule.

Prosecutors on Thursday launched an investigation into the academics on possible charges of insulting the state and engaging in "terrorist propaganda" on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. The move came after Erdogan severely criticized the signatories, including linguist Noam Chomsky, and called on the judiciary to act against the "treachery."

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Al-Shabab attacks African Union base in Somalia; many feared dead

Somalia attackedFighters from the Al-Shabab group in Somalia attacked a base for African Union (AU) troops in southwestern Somalia on Friday, military officials and insurgents said.

Al-Shabab said dozens of Kenyan soldiers were killed, but the Kenyan military said in a statement that the rebels had attacked Somali government soldiers who were stationed near the base run by the Kenyan contingent. That statement also said that the Kenyans helped the Somalis counterattack.

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Jakarta attacks: Deadly blasts, shootout hit Indonesian capital

jakarrta blastsHere is the chronology of the attack, as outlined by police spokesman Anton Charliyan:

-- At 10:55 a.m.local time, an first attacker blew himself up at a Starbucks coffee shop.

-- Two other attackers outside Starbucks then seized two foreigners, a Dutch citizen and an Algerian citizen.

-- The attackers then opened fire, shooting people on the street.

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Deadly suicide attack targets polio centre in Pakistan

Pakistan blast kills 14A suicide bomber detonated explosives outside a polio eradication centre in Pakistan's western city of Quetta, killing more than a dozen people in the latest deadly assault on the campaign to fight the disease in the country.

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said most of the dead on Wednesday were security forces on their way to guard the vaccination centre. "One passer-by was also killed in the explosion," Hyder reported.

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Mobile clinics, medical teams needed in Madaya: WHO official tells Reuters

Madaya residents starvingThe World Health Organization has asked the Syrian government for permission to send mobile clinics and medical teams to the besieged town of Madaya to assess the extent of malnutrition and evacuate the worst cases, its representative said on Tuesday.

An aid convoy on Monday brought the first food and medical supplies for months to the town, where thousands are trapped and local doctors say some have starved to death.

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