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Iraq Haggles over New President as Violence Rages

Iraqi lawmakers were to choose a new president for their ailing country Wednesday as air strikes, suicide car bombs and summary executions yielded their daily grim crop of bodies.

A government air raid on the jihadist-held town of Sharqat nearly 300 kilometers (180 miles) northwest of Baghdad killed at least three women and a child, a senior army official told AFP.

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MH17 Black Boxes Delivered to British Investigators

The black boxes from the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that came down in eastern Ukraine have arrived in Britain for expert analysis, the government said Wednesday.

The recorders have been delivered to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch headquarters in Farnborough, southwest of London.

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Merkel Pledges to Protect Jews in Germany against Attacks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged the country's Jewish community Wednesday her unwavering support as she condemned anti-Semitic slurs and threats at pro-Palestinian demonstrations, a government spokesman said.

The spokesman, Georg Streiter, said Germany would not tolerate aggression against the resurgent Jewish population, after protests against the Israeli offensive in Gaza where violent slogans were used.

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China Anti-Terror Advice: "Fight Back" or "Run Away"

Chinese citizens confronted by knife-wielding attackers should "quickly run away", authorities have advised in an updated anti-terrorism handbook.

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France Starts Tackling Sensitive Asylum,Immigration Reforms

Two bills that aim to tackle France's saturated, inefficient asylum system and reform stringent immigration rules are already attracting controversy before they have even been officially introduced.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who was to submit the two bills at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, stressed in an interview with daily Liberation that France must continue to welcome immigrants as "countries that are closed in on themselves are doomed to decline."

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British Journalist for Russian TV Missing in East Ukraine

A Russian television channel said Wednesday it had lost contact with a British journalist reporting from conflict-torn eastern Ukraine.

RT said on its website it had been unable to reach Graham Phillips since the early hours of Wednesday after he went to cover intense fighting around Donetsk airport.

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China's Xi Ends Latin American Tour at Cuba Barracks

Chinese President Xi Jinping ends his Latin American tour on Wednesday with a symbolic visit to the barracks from which Fidel Castro launched the first armed assault of his communist revolution in 1953.

As part of his regional charm offensive, Xi extended a hand to his Cuban communist ally with the signing of 29 bilateral agreements ranging from a credit line to modernize the port of Santiago de Cuba to the development of golf courses on the Caribbean island.

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Gaza Church Opens Doors to War Refugees

For the first time in years, Gaza City's Greek Orthodox church is packed to overflowing, having offered refuge to hundreds of Palestinians who fled their homes under Israeli bombardment.

Around 600 people, mostly women and children, are sheltering in the church compound in the old sector of Gaza City, after escaping the inferno of neighbouring areas like Shejaiya.

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Yemen President Urges Unity in Visit to Restive North

Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi called Wednesday for unity during a visit to the northern city of Amran, briefly seized by Shiite rebels in clashes with government forces and loyal tribes.

The capture on July 2 of Amran, just 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Sanaa, by Huthi rebels threatened a federalization plan that was agreed in February following national talks as part of a political transition.

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U.N. Rights Chief Condemns Israel and Hamas

Israel's military actions in the Gaza Strip could amount to war crimes, U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay said Wednesday while also condemning indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants Hamas.

"There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes," Pillay told an emergency session on Israel's Gaza offensive at the U.N. Human Rights Council, citing attacks that have killed Palestinian civilians, including children.

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