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DR Congo Army Launches New Offensive against Rwandan Rebels

The Democratic Republic of Congo army has launched a fresh offensive against Rwandan Hutu rebels in the east of the country, an army officer participating in the operations said on Friday.

"We have been ordered to hunt down the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) and we recovered some positions," an army based in the eastern Virunga National Park told Agence France-Presse.

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U.S. Condemns 'Brutal Murder' of Blogger in Bangladesh

Washington Friday condemned the "brutality and cowardice" of the killing of an American blogger of Bangladeshi origin and called his murder an assault on the country's "proud tradition" of free speech.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal murder of Avijit Roy," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

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Greek PM Announces First 'Humanitarian' Legislation

Greece's new anti-austerity government will put before parliament early next week its first legislation tackling the "humanitarian crisis" caused by years of cuts, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Friday.

"The first bill that we will introduce in parliament at the start of next week will cover measures to combat the humanitarian crisis," Tsipras, 40, told a cabinet meeting transmitted live by TV channel Nerit.

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China Opposes U.N. Sanctions on South Sudan

China on Friday voiced opposition to a U.N. draft resolution on imposing sanctions on South Sudan, saying the measure would be unhelpful at a time when the warring factions are negotiating.

The United States presented a draft text to the Security Council this week that provides for sanctions against individuals seen as blocking efforts to end the 14-month war in South Sudan.

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Obama, Afghan Leader to Meet in Late March at White House

President Barack Obama will receive his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani at the White House on March 24 as Washington weighs slowing down the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country.

The two presidents will discuss security issues, economic development and U.S. support for a reconciliation process, White House secretary Josh Earnest said Friday.

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ICC Prosecutor in Uganda Urges LRA Rebel Chief to Surrender

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor pleaded on Friday for the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebel chief to surrender, vowing he would receive a fair trial just as his deputy faces.

Senior rebel leader Dominic Ongwen, a child-soldier-turned-warlord in Uganda's LRA, appeared before the ICC in The Hague for the first time in January, charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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Algerian Intermediaries Table Draft Peace Deal for Mali

Algerian mediators hosting peace talks between the Mali government and militants have produced a draft agreement transferring a raft of powers from Bamako to the country's restive north.

Ethnic divisions run deep in the west African nation's northern desert, the cradle of a Tuareg separatist movement which has spawned several rebellions since the 1960s.

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U.S. Senate Approves Homeland Security Dept. Funds

The U.S. Senate Friday approved funding for the Department of Homeland Security hours before a midnight deadline, but remaining congressional hurdles pushed the agency responsible for domestic security to the brink of shutdown.

Even as the Senate voted 68 to 31 to pass a "clean" bill to fund DHS through the end of fiscal year 2015 on September 30, many House Republicans have refused to support a measure that has been stripped of amendments aimed at repealing President Barack Obama's immigration executive orders.

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Boko Haram Raid Villages after Chadian Offensive

Boko Haram fighters have raided villages in northeast Nigeria on the border with Cameroon, apparently in reprisal for a Chadian offensive against its hideouts, residents told Agence France-Presse on Friday.

Scores of heavily armed militants on Wednesday rampaged through more than a dozen villages in the Kala-Balge district in Borno state, shooting, hacking residents to death and razing homes.

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Popular Rwandan Musician Sentenced to 10 Years for Anti-Govt. Plot

A Rwandan court on Friday sentenced popular musician Kizito Mihigo to 10 years in prison for conspiracy against the government of strongman President Paul Kagame.

Mihigo was also found guilty of "forming a criminal group" and "conspiracy to commit murder," but judge Claire Bukuba threw out charges of complicity in a terrorist act.

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