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Monday, Sep 01st

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African leaders gather for US summit

African conferenceDelegates are gathering in Washington DC for the largest ever summit of African leaders in the US.

Nearly 50 heads of state are expected to attend the three-day event, which began on Monday.  US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker has said about $900m (£535m) in business deals will be formally announced during the event.

But the presidents of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have cancelled their plans to attend amid an Ebola outbreak.

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US Sent Latin Youth Undercover in Anti-Cuba Ploy

Fidel castroFernando Murillo was typical of the young Latin Americans deployed to Cuba by a U.S. agency to work undercover. He had little training in the dangers of clandestine operations — or how to evade one of the world's most sophisticated counter-intelligence services.

Their assignment was to recruit young Cubans to anti-government activism, which they did under the guise of civic programs, including an HIV prevention workshop. Murillo was instructed to check in every 48 hours and was provided with a set of security codes. "I have a headache," for instance, meant the Costa Rican thought the Cubans were watching him and the mission should be suspended.

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US condemns 'disgraceful' shelling of UN school

Gaza school hitA third deadly attack on a United Nations school sheltering people fleeing bombardment in Gaza was strongly condemned by both the UN and the US on Sunday, with UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, calling it a "moral outrage and a criminal act" and pleading for an end to "this madness".

The US said it was appalled by the "disgraceful" attack, which killed at least 10 people and injured dozens just days after the shelling of two other UN schools in Gaza caused international shock and anger.

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Islamic State grabs Iraqi dam and oilfield in victory over Kurds

IS takes over northern IraqIslamic State fighters seized control of Iraq's biggest dam, an oilfield and three more towns on Sunday after inflicting their first major defeat on Kurdish forces since sweeping across much of northern Iraq in June.

Capture of the electricity-generating Mosul Dam, after an offensive of barely 24 hours, could give the Sunni militants the ability to flood major Iraqi cities or withhold water from farms, raising the stakes in their bid to topple Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government.

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China earthquake kills hundreds in Yunnan province

China earthquakeAt least 367 people have been killed and some 1,300 injured by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in south-west China, state news agency Xinhua says.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck about 11km (seven miles) north-west of Wenping in Yunnan province at 16:30 local time (08:30 GMT).

A major rescue and relief operation is under way. State broadcaster CCTV said the earthquake was the strongest to hit the province in 14 years.

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Israel spied on John Kerry during peace effort – report

Israel spied on KerryIsrael eavesdropped on the US secretary of state, John Kerry, during doomed peace talks with the Palestinians last year, the German news weekly Der Spiegel reported on Sunday.

The article said the Israelis and at least one other secret service listened in on Kerry’s conversations as he tried to mediate, in a development that Der Spiegel said was likely to further strain ties between Israel and the United States.

Kerry regularly spoke by telephone with high-ranking officials throughout the Middle East during the negotiations that finally collapsed earlier this year.

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Gaza official: 10 dead after strike near UN school

gaza deadA Gaza health official says 10 people have been killed by a strike near a United Nations school in the embattled coastal territory.

Ashraf al-Kidra says another 35 were wounded after the hit near a boys' school in the southern town of Rafah that is sheltering people displaced by the 27-day conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Witnesses said the attack happened while people were waiting in line for food supplies. It was not immediately clear whether the strike was the result of Israeli or Palestinian fire.

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