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Pakistan, Russia Sign 'Milestone' Military Cooperation Pact

Pakistan and Russia signed a "milestone" military cooperation pact on Thursday aimed at bringing peace and stability in the region, Islamabad's defense ministry said.

The agreement was signed during a visit by Russian Defense Minister General Sergei Shoigu with Pakistani defense minister Khawaja Asif.

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Assange Loses Appeal against Swedish Arrest Warrant

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday lost his appeal against a Swedish arrest warrant over alleged sex crimes, the latest setback in a four-year legal battle.

The 43-year-old Australian has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London for two years to avoid extradition to Sweden. 

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Husband of Pakistani Christian on Death Row for Blasphemy Begs for Pardon

The husband of a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy four years ago has written to the president to ask for her to be pardoned and allowed to move to France.

Asia Bibi has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman.

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Sisi Says Possible Pardon for Jazeera Reporters 'Under Study'

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Thursday that the possibility of granting presidential pardons to three jailed Al-Jazeera journalists was being considered.

"This issue is under study," Sisi said in an interview with France 24.

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Israel Warns Against 'Bad' Iran Deal as Deadline Looms

Israel's intelligence minister on Thursday pressed world powers not to sign a "bad" deal with Iran, as a deadline nears for an agreement on the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear program.

"Do not sign a bad deal with Iran that enables Iran to remain a threshold nuclear state," Yuval Steinitz told reporters in Jerusalem.

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Merkel: No Security in Europe Without Russia

Russia is key to ensuring European security, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday as she marked a quarter century of reconciliation with neighboring Poland.

"We are aware that Europe's security can only be ensured, in the medium and long term, with Russia," Merkel said at a ceremony with Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz in the southern Polish town of Krzyzowa.

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Azerbaijani Soldier Killed in New Karabakh Clash

Armenian troops on Thursday killed an Azerbaijani soldier, the defense ministry in Baku said, amid escalating tensions in the longstanding conflict over the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region.

Last week, Armenia threatened "grave consequences" after Azerbaijani forces shot down a helicopter belonging to the army of the breakaway ethnic Armenian region.

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DR Congo Rethinks Fiddling with Constitution after Burkina Revolt

Politicians in the Democratic Republic of Congo keen to prolong President Joseph Kabila's hold on power are revising their plans after Burkina Faso's leader was deposed by a popular uprising, analysts said.

"That changed things, coming like a thunderbolt, a real warning signal for those in power," said a foreign diplomat in Kinshasa, the capital of the vast central African country.

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U.N. Pleads for Release of Abducted Staff in South Sudan

The United Nations demanded Thursday the release of a staff member abducted last month in war-torn South Sudan, warning it jeopardized aid efforts with colleagues fearing for their own lives.

The U.N. World Food Program, which feeds hundreds of thousands of civilians struggling from almost a year of civil war, said it had was "gravely worried" about their colleague Mark Diang, last seen being marched away by gunmen on October 16 from an airport check-in queue.

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Bahrain Jails Three Shiites, Strips Them of Nationality

A court jailed three Bahraini Shiites on Thursday and stripped them of their nationality for planning an attack against the police in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, a judicial source said.

The men were jailed for 10 years each for having planned an attack with explosives on policemen in August 2013, the source said.

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