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Sunday, Nov 23rd

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Billions set aside for post-Saddam Iraq turned up in Lebanese bunker

Paul Bremer in IraqMore than $1bn earmarked for the reconstruction of Iraq was stolen and spirited to a bunker in Lebanon as the American and Iraqi governments ignored appeals to recover the money, it has been claimed.

Stuart Bowen, a former special inspector general who investigated corruption and waste in Iraq, said the stash accounted for a significant chunk of the huge sums which vanished during the chaotic months following the 2003 US-led invasion.

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Battle for Kobane: Islamic State tries to isolate the town

Battle for KOBANEAt least 553 people are said to have died in a month of fighting for Kobane, the Kurdish town just inside Syria under Islamic State (IS) attack.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based Syrian opposition body which monitors the conflict, counted 298 IS fighters among the dead.

US aircraft have bombed IS positions as Kurdish fighters cling on to the town's vital border crossing with Turkey.

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Leaked note suggests jurors considering conviction in ongoing Blackwater trial

Blackwater A note written by jurors in the ongoing Blackwater Worldwide murder and manslaughter case suggests the jury is considering at least an involuntary manslaughter conviction.

Former Blackwater guards Dustin. L Heard, Evan S. Liberty and Paul A. Slough are all charged with manslaughter and using a firearm to commit a crime stemming from a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that left several unarmed civilians dead.

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U.S.-led airstrikes hit Syria oil refinery near Turkey

US airstrikes on oil refineryAirstrikes likely carried out by a U.S.-led coalition struck an oil refinery in Syria held by the Islamic State group Sunday, a witness said, shaking buildings and sending flames shooting into the air near the Turkish border.

Explosions lit the sky "for two hours" at the refinery in the northern Syrian town of Tel Abyad around 2:30 a.m. local time (2330 GMT Saturday), local businessman Mehmet Ozer said.

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FBI: 12 Americans in ISIS, Not 100

james ComeyThe U.S. believes there are about a dozen Americans fighting alongside extremist groups in Syria, not more than 100, as has been cited for months.

That's not to say there is no concern about these other 88 or so Americans who officials say have been killed, arrested, traveled or attempted to travel to join the fight. But the U.S. only knows of about 12 who are currently in Syria fighting, FBI Director James Comey said Thursday.

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US-led strikes hit IS-held oil sites in Syria

US atrikes syria oil fieldU.S.-led airstrikes targeted Syrian oil installations held by the militant Islamic State group overnight and early Thursday, killing nearly 20 people as the militants released dozens of detainees in their de facto capital, fearing further raids, activists said.

The latest strikes came on the third day of a U.S.-led air campaign aimed at rolling back the Islamic State group in Syria, and appeared to be aimed at one of the militants' main revenue streams. The U.S. has been conducting air raids against the group in neighboring Iraq for more than a month.

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U.S., Arab allies hit militant strongholds in Syria, Iraq

Air strikes against ISISCombined U.S.-Arab airstrikes hit Islamic State group military strongholds in Syria and Iraq as a simultaneous U.S. strike attacked an al-Qaida cell of hardened veterans with “significant explosives skills” said to be plotting attacks on the U.S. and Western interests, the U.S. military said.

The top American military official, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, said the U.S. and its Arab allies achieved their aim of showing the extremists that their savage attacks will not go unanswered.

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