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Report: FBI Still Needs to Improve Intelligence Efforts

More than a decade after the September 11, 2001 attacks the FBI has still not fully improved its domestic intelligence gathering and must accelerate reforms, an official U.S. report said Wednesday.

Some of the faults found with the gathering and sharing of information at many of the country's intelligence bodies following 9/11 are still not resolved at the FBI, according to the report. 

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Israel President Chastises Netanyahu over Arab Voter Remark

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday took Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to task over an attempt to ramp up rightwing votes by playing the anti-Arab race card.

In a statement released shortly before he was to publicly task Netanyahu with forming the next government, Rivlin took aim at remarks in which he tried to galvanize rightwing voters by saying Arab Israelis were "going to the polls in droves."

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Abbas Holds All the Cards for Confronting Netanyahu

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has more powers than ever to pursue a diplomatic offensive against Israel that is likely to accelerate with the re-election of his old adversary Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas turns 80 on Thursday, with March 26, 1935 widely accepted as the date of his birth, although his entourage seems keen to avoid all mention of his advanced age and has no plans for any celebration.

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Principals who Didn't Close Schools for Annunciation Holiday Penalized

Education Minister Elias Bou Saab on Wednesday decided to penalize the principals of 24 private schools that did not abide by a decree to close educational institutions on the occasion of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary feast.

The minister decided to “stop accepting the signatures of the principals of around 24 private schools across Lebanon due to their blatant violation of a decree by the council of ministers that specifies the official holidays,” Bou Saab's office said in a statement.

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Argentina Condemns British 'Provocation' in Falklands

Argentina branded Britain's plans to beef up defenses in the Falklands a "provocation" and a pre-election stunt Wednesday.

On Tuesday, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said London would spend £180 million ($268 million) over 10 years to counter "continuous intimidation" from Argentina in the disputed South Atlantic islands, which the two countries went to war over in 1982.

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Turkey Military, Kurdish Rebels Clash in Southeast

The Turkish military said it had responded with artillery fire Wednesday to attacks launched by Kurdish rebels against army positions in the Kurdish-majority southeast near the Iraqi border.

In a statement posted on its website, the army said militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fired mortar shells at its positions in the Daglica district.

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Egypt Blast Kills 10-Year-Old Girl near School

A 10-year-old girl was killed on Wednesday when an improvised bomb she picked up near her school exploded in the Fayum province, west of Cairo, Egyptian police said.

The girl had tripped over a rudimentary bomb that was placed outside her school and it exploded once she picked it up, a police official said.

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NATO Welcomes U.S. Slowing of Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal

NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday praised U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to keep the current level of 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan until the end of 2015.

On Tuesday, Obama reversed plans to withdraw around 5,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year after talks with the country's new, reform-minded leader, President Ashraf Ghani.

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Nigerian Army Chief Vows Crackdown on Election Unrest

The head of Nigeria's army on Wednesday vowed a violent crackdown on election-related unrest, as security tightened before this weekend's presidential and parliamentary vote.

Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Minimah said the armed forces, police and other organizations had made "adequate arrangements" for security at this Saturday's poll.

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Afghan President Thanks American People in Speech to Congress

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani addressed the U.S. Congress Wednesday, thanking "the people of the United States" for their service and sacrifice over a decade of war in Afghanistan.

"We owe a profound debt to the 2,315 servicemen and women killed and the more than 20,000 who have been wounded in service to your country and ours," Ghani said, after receiving a warm welcome from members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

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