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Afghan government to sign peace deal with militant insurgent group

Afghan peace deal expectedThe Afghan government is expected to finalize a peace deal with a notorious militant insurgent group within days, an official and a representative of the group said on Saturday.

The deal is partially symbolic as the group in question, Hezb-i-Islami, has been essentially inactive for years. However it provides a much-needed success for the beleaguered administration of President Ashraf Ghani and potential template for ending Kabul's 15-year war with the still active and far more dangerous Taliban.


At least 13 dead in Iraq coffee shop mass shootin

Mass shooting at Iraq cafeGunmen killed at least 13 people and injured 23 others in a bloody attack on a cafe in the northern Iraqi province of Saladin.

The three shooters stormed the packed coffee shop in the mainly Shiite town of Balad and opened fire, police officer Muhsin al-Ubaidi told the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency.


Top Hezbollah commander killed in Syria

Hezbollah leader killed in SyriaTop Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine was killed in an Israeli strike in Syria this week, the Lebanese Shia group has said.

"He took part in most of the operations of the Islamic resistance since 1982," Hezbollah said in a statement on Friday, announcing his death and describing him as a "great jihadi leader".


Iraq humanitarian crisis 'one of the world's worst'

Iraq's need for humanitarian aidIraqi civilians and officials have voiced concern over the humanitarian situation in the country's western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi.

"The situation is deteriorating every day - the shortage of food is becoming worse," a member of the Anbar Province's security committee, Rajeh Barakat al-Issawi, told Al Jazeera. "ISIL fighters are banning all and any aid from entering the city [Fallujah]," he added.


Brazil's Senate impeaches president Rousseff; trial ahead

Brazil president impeachedBrazil's Senate voted Thursday to impeach President Dilma Rousseff after a months-long fight that laid bare the country's fury over corruption and economic decay, hurling Latin America's largest country into political turmoil just months before it hosts the Summer Olympics.

Rousseff's enraged backers called the move a coup d'etat and threatened wide-scale protests and strikes. Her foes, meanwhile, insisted that she had broken the law, and that the country's deep political, social and economic woes could only be tackled without her.


Italy joins rest of Europe in giving rights to gay couples

Italy offers gay rightsItaly joined the rest of Europe on Wednesday in giving some legal rights to gay couples after a years-long battle and opposition from the Catholic Church to anything that smacked of authorizing gay marriage.

The lower Chamber of Deputies voted 372-51 with 99 abstentions to approve legislation already passed in February by the Senate.

Gay rights activists hailed the vote as historic, given that Italy was the last of the European Union's 28 nations to grant legal recognition to civil unions. But they voiced disappointment that the government had sacrificed a provision to allow gay adoption to ensure passage.


Quietly, Vietnam hosts arms gathering attended by U.S. companies

Vietnam arms conferenceVietnam hosts a defense symposium this week attended by top American arms manufacturers, ahead of a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama and as Washington weighs whether to lift an arms embargo on its former enemy.

Secrecy has surrounded the event staged by the communist country and attended by firms including Boeing (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N). It coincides with the biggest arms buildup in the country since the Vietnam War.


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