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Thursday, Oct 02nd

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Pro-Democracy Protesters Swarm Hong Kong, Violent Clashes With Police

Hong Kong riotsPolice used tear gas, batons and pepper spray against pro-democracy demonstrators in central Hong Kong Sunday, as tens of thousands joined a civil disobedience movement that seeks unfettered elections for the city’s top job.

The demonstrations, which were originally supposed to be confined to the Central district, continued into Monday morning and spread to various neighborhoods, including across the iconic harbor in Kowloon. Tear gas even billowed into the city’s famously efficient subway system.

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Questions linger over Hamas’ role in West Bank kidnapping that led to Gaza war

abdicted israeli teensAfter the killing Sept. 23 of two Palestinians suspected of kidnapping and fatally shooting three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank in June, Israeli officials declared the closure of a case that shook Israel and triggered a series of events that culminated in a 50-day war with Hamas in Gaza.

What remains unclear, however, is what role, if any, the militant Islamist group Hamas played in the abductions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of responsibility for the kidnapping, then began a harsh crackdown that led to the worst eruption of Palestinian-Israeli violence in years.

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Volcano erupts in Japan; 7 missing, 40 injured

volcano erupts in JapanA volcano in central Japan erupted in spectacular fashion on Saturday, catching mountain climbers by surprise and stranding at least 40 injured people in areas that rescue workers have been unable to reach. Another seven people were missing.

The injured, unable to descend 3,067-meter (10,062-foot) Mount Ontake on their own, are staying in mountain lodges, said Sohei Hanamura, a crisis management official in Nagano prefecture. Thirty-two people had serious injuries, including at least seven who lost consciousness.

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Afghanistan: Taliban Behead 15 People After Seizing Ajrestan District

Taliban attack on villageHundreds of Taliban fighters have stormed and seized a key district in the Afghani Ghazni province, beheading 15 people suspected of collaborating with authorities, including women.

Islamist insurgents attacked the restive Ajrestan district, in a strategic position southwest of Kabul, in an attempt to advance towards the capital. Following a four-day battle, the militants overrun three villages, setting fire to houses and killing a total of 70 villagers.

Ajrestan, a small town surrounded by about 100 villages in a rural area, may allow the Taliban to launch attacks into nearby provinces in the east of the country. Deputy provincial police chief Asadullah Ensafi said militants beheaded 15 people, including local police officers and their family members.

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Iraqi woman activist killed by Islamic State

Samira Salig al-NuaimiMilitants with the Islamic State group publicly killed a rights lawyer in the Iraqi city of Mosul after their self-styled Islamic court ruled that she had abandoned Islam, the U.N. mission in Iraq said Thursday.

Samira Salih al-Nuaimi was seized from her home on Sept. 17 after allegedly posting messages on Facebook that were critical of the militants' destruction of religious sites in Mosul.

According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, al-Nuaimi was tried in a so-called "Sharia court" for apostasy, after which she was tortured for five days before the militants sentenced her to "public execution."

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Militants surround Iraqi base in west Iraq; incident exposes army weakness

Iraqi army surroundedA soldier cornered in the camp said food, weapons and ammunition were running short, with forces sent to rescue them struggling to clear a route.

"There are troops behind us but they can't reach us because the whole area is planted with roadside bombs and land mines," said Hussein Thamir, a soldier who spoke to Reuters from inside the Albu Etha camp, about 10 km south of the city of Ramadi.

"There was an army group in front of us whom (Islamic State) destroyed completely six days ago," said Thamir.

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Jihadist video claims beheading of French hostage

French tourist beheadedAn Algerian jihadist group linked to Islamic State released a video Wednesday purportedly showing the beheading of a French tourist who was abducted on Sunday, a U.S. terrorist watchdog group says.

French President Francois Hollande confirmed the killing of Hervé Gourdel, condemning it as a "cruel and cowardly" act.

"Our compatriot has been murdered," Hollande told reporters ahead of his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

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