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IAEA Chief Urges Vigilance against 'Terrorist' Nuke Threats

The head of the U.N.'s atomic watchdog warned Monday that "terrorists" could attack or sabotage nuclear facilities in countries where security is weak, and urged governments not to let their guard down.

"This is a very serious issue for the international community now," Yukiya Amano, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a lecture in Singapore. 

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S. Korea Refuses to 'Coax' North with Concessions

South Korea Monday rejected North Korean calls to pave the way for talks by lifting sanctions, saying its desire to resume dialogue did not extend to "coaxing" Pyongyang to the negotiating table.

Seoul has proposed high-level talks to discuss a range of issues, particularly the possibility of holding a reunion over the Lunar New Year period next month for families divided by the Korean War.

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Geagea Says Hizbullah, IS Two Sides of Same Coin

Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea has said that Hizbullah and the extremist Islamic State group are enemies but have closely related features of one idea.

“Hizbullah is the IS's enemy and they are fighting each other,” Geagea told UAE's Alroeya newspaper in an interview published on Monday.

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On Iraq Visit, Jolie Says World Failing to Avert isaster

The international community is failing in its duty to protect civilians affected by the conflict in Iraq and Syria, US actress Angelina Jolie said Sunday in northern Iraq.

In her capacity as special envoy for the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR), the Hollywood star visited Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqis near Dohuk, in the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

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Cabinet to Discuss Controversial Retirement Age of Security Personnel

Officials will kickstart this week a new round of negotiations to modify the retirement age of officers in leadership posts in the army, the Internal Security Forces and other security agencies despite reservations expressed by various political blocs and Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji.

Al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Monday that Prime Minister Tammam Salam is keen to push his cabinet to endorse the proposal and refer it to the parliament before the end of February when the tenure of the Higher Defense Council chief General Mohammed Kheir ends.

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Morocco Arrests Alleged Algerian Jihadist

Moroccan authorities have arrested an Algerian national thought to be a member of Jund al-Khilafa, a jihadist group responsible for the September beheading of a French tourist, authorities said Sunday.  

The operation was carried out by police near the border town of Ahfir, about 30 kilometers north of Oujda, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry, which did not give a date for the arrest. 

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Reports: Australia Labor Figure Takes IS Fight Into his Own Hands

As Australian troops join U.S.-led efforts to combat the Islamic State group, one of the country's political figures has reportedly taken matters into his own hands and gone to the Middle East to fight them himself.

Matthew Gardiner, a former trade unionist and ex-president of the Northern Territory branch of the opposition Labor Party, left Australia to join a Kurdish militia fighting IS, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Sunday.

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Salam Determined to Improve Cabinet Work despite Troubles

Prime Minister Tammam Salam has lamented that the government was suffering over the absence of a president despite his determination to improve its productivity.

As Safir daily on Monday quoted Salam as saying that “the work of the government has been transformed into a permanent suffering that takes several forms amid the presidential vacuum.”

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Mashnouq Vows Not to Back Down until Ain el-Hilweh Fugitives Handed over to State

Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq stressed on Monday that the state will not back down on its demand to be handed over all fugitives who are taking the southern Palestinian camp of Ain el-Hilweh as their safe haven.

“The chance will be given in the first stage for any political solution, but we will not back down,” Mashnouq told As Safir newspaper.

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Report: Berri, Hariri Discussed Hizbullah-Mustaqbal Dialogue

Speaker Nabih Berri has discussed with al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri the talks between Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal representatives, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Monday.

The daily said that Berri's short meeting with Hariri was held in Riyadh over the weekend when the speaker extended his condolences on the death of Saudi King Abdullah.

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