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Retired Soldier Critically Wounded in Tripoli Drive-by Shooting

A retired army soldier was critically wounded in a drive-by shooting on Thursday evening in the northern city of Tripoli, in the latest such attack against the military institution.

“Two masked men riding a motorbike opened fire at retired soldier Khaled al-Youssef in the Ibn Sina Street in Tripoli's al-Qobbeh, riddling his body with several bullets,” state-run National News Agency reported.

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U.N. Chief Calls for Resumption of Cyprus Ralks

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called for a quick resumption of Cyprus peace talks that were suspended during a dispute over rights to offshore oil and gas.

Ban made the appeal after meeting with U.N. envoy Espen Barth Eide who is brokering talks between Cypriot Greek and Turkish leaders on the divided island.

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Army Retakes Key Syrian Town from Rebels

The Syrian army on Thursday recaptured the strategic central town of Morek, nine months after it was seized by rebels and their Al-Qaida allies, a monitoring group said.

The army was backed by militias loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the battle for the town in Hama province, the latest in a string of victories they have scored against rebels seeking his ouster.

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Bangladesh War Criminal Ghulam Azam Dead at 91

Bangladeshi war criminal Ghulam Azam, who was sentenced last year to 90 years in prison for masterminding atrocities during the country's 1971 independence war, died late Thursday aged 91.

Azam was the wartime head of Jamaat-e-Islami -- the country's largest Islamist party, later turning into its spiritual leader and a key player in the country's politics.

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IS Propaganda Strategy 'Evolving'

From online videos to the social network postings of their fighters, the propaganda of the Islamic State jihadist group is evolving to prevent the leaking of strategic information while at the same time maintaining its impact.

Experts and journalists say they have observed a change in the group's approach to communications since its offensive on the Syrian town of Kobane and air strikes by a US-led coalition.

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Tunisia Closes Libya Border for Election

Tunisia, fearing possible terrorist attacks, will close its border with politically unstable Libya for three days to coincide with this weekend's parliamentary election, the government said Thursday.

The Ras Jedir and Dehiba border crossings would be closed from Friday through election day Sunday for people travelling from Libya, except for diplomatic missions and in "exceptional and urgent cases," a statement said.

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Palestinians Threaten to Press for Statehood

The Palestinians will launch a diplomatic push in November to gain international recognition for an independent state in spite of Israeli and U.S. warnings, senior negotiator Saeb Erakat said Thursday.

Speaking to reporters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Erakat dismissed any attempts by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to oppose Palestinian ambitions for statehood.

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Policeman Held After Ammo Found in Buckingham Palace Lockers

A police officer who guards Britain's royal family has been arrested after ammunition was found in lockers in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, Scotland Yard said Thursday.

The unnamed policeman was held after other royalty protection officers reported finding ammunition in their personal lockers and bags in a police building in the central London palace's grounds.

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South Sudan Women Suggest Sex Strike to End War

A group of South Sudanese women peace activists has suggested that men in the civil war-torn country be denied sex until they stop fighting.

The suggestion emerged after around 90 women, including several members of South Sudan's parliament, met in the capital Juba this week to come up with ideas on how to "to advance the cause of peace, healing and reconciliation".

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Grace Mugabe Fans Speculation on Presidential Bid

The wife of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday hinted she could seek to take over the reins when his long rule finally ends, as she intensified attacks on a another possible contender.

Campaigning outside Harare, Grace Mugabe, 49, said she too could be president, while accusing Vice-President Joice Mujuru of plotting to topple her husband.

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