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Kuwait's Main Opposition Group Ends Polls Boycott

Kuwait's largest opposition group announced on Thursday an end to its four-year boycott of elections ahead of next year's polls.

The Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) was among a broad alliance of Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition groups which boycotted two general polls in 2012 and 2013 in protest against a change in electoral law.

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WHO: Syria the World Most Dangerous Place for Health Workers

Syria was the most dangerous place for health care workers to operate last year, ahead of other conflict zones like the Palestinian territories, and Yemen, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

For the first time, the UN health agency provided comprehensive statistics on attacks on health care facilities and other violence directed at health workers in conflict areas, covering 19 countries over the past two years.

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France : Private Firms to Hunt for Egyptair Black Boxes

France and Egypt will hire two private firms to help in the hunt for the black boxes from the EgyptAir plane that crashed last week on route from from Paris to Cairo, the French foreign ministry has said.

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U.N.: Dire Conditions for Civilians Trapped in Iraq's Fallujah

Only 800 people have been able to flee Fallujah since Iraqi forces launched a major offensive to retake the city, the United Nations said in a statement released Thursday.

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Iraq PM Urges Protesters to Stay Home during Fallujah Op

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi urged protesters not to demonstrate in Baghdad on Friday because security forces are mobilized in the battle to retake Fallujah.

Protesters, mostly followers of powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, have held demonstrations almost every Friday for weeks to demand a government reshuffle.

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Israeli Planes Target Gaza Sites after Rocket Attack

The Israeli air force carried out strikes on Hamas sites in Gaza early Thursday in response to a rocket attack targeting the Jewish state, the army and Palestinian officials said.

The rocket, which hit an open area in southern Israel, caused no damage or casualties.

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U.S.: Make-Up of New Israel Coalition 'Raises Legitimate Questions'

The United States said Wednesday that the make-up of Israel's new right-wing coalition raises "legitimate questions" about the government's commitment to a two-state solution in its conflict with the Palestinians.

In a rare comment on the internal politics of a U.S. ally, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington had "seen reports from Israel describing it as the most right-wing coalition in Israel's history."

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Saudi Says Talks with Iran on Hajj 'Positive'

Saudi Arabia said talks on Wednesday with visiting Iranian delegates on arrangements for hajj pilgrims from the Islamic republic have been "positive."

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U.N. Chief Wants to Ramp Up Yemen Peace Effort

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is proposing a plan to beef up the U.N. mediation in Yemen to overcome deep differences in peace talks, according to a letter obtained by AFP on Wednesday.

Ban outlined his proposal in a letter to the Security Council just before U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was to report to the council's 15 members on the peace talks he is leading in Kuwait.

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Hardliner's Appointment Renews Israel Death Penalty Debate

The appointment of hardliner Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister has reignited debate over the death penalty in Israel, where no executions have been carried out since 1962.

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