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Syria Approves Visas for U.N. Staff

Syria has agreed to grant visas to 47 U.N. staff members following months of haggling that have undermined U.N. relief efforts in the war-torn country, the U.N. aid chief said Thursday.

Stephen O'Brien, the under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council Thursday that the Syrian mission to the United Nations had informed him of the decision to allow the U.N. staff in the country.

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Palestinians Want Their Flag Raised at U.N.

The Palestinians on Thursday asked the United Nations to allow their flag to be raised at the world body ahead of next month's meeting of heads of state.

The move comes as the Palestinians seek to bolster their bid for statehood despite fierce opposition from Israel.

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U.S. Journalist Killings Revive Gun Control Debate

The brazen killing of two U.S. journalists during a live television broadcast by a former reporter who was fired by the station reignited calls Thursday for tougher gun control in America -- though hope for change is limited.

Mass shootings in the United States -- from the 2012 school massacre in Newtown to June's slaying of black churchgoers in Charleston -- regularly prompt hand-wringing about easy U.S. access to guns, and a need for action.

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'Gatlin Paid him Off' - Bolt Laughs Off Cameraman Crash

Usain Bolt's celebrations after completing a world championship sprint double came to a painful halt on Thursday after he was knocked over by a cameraman on an electric scooter.

The bizarre accident happened when the cameraman strayed too close to a barefoot Bolt as he posed for photos following his gold medal run in the 200 meters in Beijing.

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U.S. Sanctions FARC Members for Swiss-Based Operation

The United States on Thursday sanctioned four members of a Colombian rebel group for their alleged role in narcotics trafficking and money laundering in Switzerland.

The sanctions freeze any assets of the four may have under U.S. jurisdiction, and prohibits Americans or U.S. entities from engaging in transactions with them.

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Three Killed in Clashes in Turkey's Restive Southeast

Three people, including a child, were killed in clashes between Kurdish militants and security forces in Turkey's restive Kurdish-majority southeast on Thursday, officials said.

Fighting erupted in the Cizre district of Sirnak province when Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels attacked a military outpost with rocket launchers, a security source told AFP.

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Estonia to Build Fence along Russian Border

Estonia on Thursday said it would build a fence along its eastern border with Russia to safeguard its security and to protect the EU's passport-free Schengen zone.

Interior ministry spokesman Toomas Viks said construction would begin in 2018.

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Former Ukraine Rebel Head Starts Support Group for Russian Fighters

A former leader of pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine on Thursday announced he was launching a support network for Russian volunteers who fought in the conflict and the families of those killed.

"A lot of people lost their health, lost their jobs, there are the families of the fallen," Alexander Borodai said at a news conference in Moscow.

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Supreme Court Head Named Caretaker Greek PM

Greece on Thursday named its top judge as caretaker prime minister to organize early elections expected next month, the fifth in the crisis-hit country in six years.

President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said he had chosen Vassiliki Thanou, the head of Greece's Supreme Court and the first woman to assume the post.

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Arrest Warrant Issued for Former Pakistani PM

A Pakistani anti-corruption court on Thursday issued arrest warrants for former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as well as one of his senior ministers in a dozen graft cases against them.

The court ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which probed the cases, to apprehend Gilani, who was prime minister from 2008 to 2012, along with ex-commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and produce them before a judge on September 10.

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