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France to Boost Military Presence in Fight against IS

France said Wednesday it will beef up its military deployment in the fight against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq being waged by a U.S.-led coalition.

"The president has decided to reinforce the military presence engaged" in the battle, said a statement from the presidency, without specifying what this would amount to.

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Myanmar Police Seize 200 Kgs of Heroin in Golden Triangle

Myanmar authorities have seized more than 200 kilograms (440 lbs) of heroin on their side of the infamous "Golden Triangle", arresting three men armed with guns and a grenade launcher, police said Wednesday.

The haul, worth around $20 million, was made on Tuesday afternoon in a town in eastern Shan State bordering Thailand as a part of a wider crackdown on drug trafficking across the country.

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Thousands Rally in Taiwan to Support Hong Kong Protesters

Thousands of slogan-chanting Taiwan residents rallied late Wednesday to support the growing pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, with one saying the city faces a "life-and-death" moment.

The crowd, many of them Hong Kong students studying in Taiwan universities, raised their fists and sang "Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies", a song by the 1980s Hong Kong band Beyond which has become a theme tune of the protests.

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Sahrawi Prisoners End Hunger Strike

Seven Sahrawi men who launched a hunger strike last month at a jail in Moroccan-annexed Western Sahara have ended their protest after being promised better conditions, Amnesty International said Wednesday.

Citing witnesses, the London-based watchdog said on September 19 that the men had been beaten in front of other detainees at the prison in Laayoune after being arrested at a demonstration in early 2014.

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Britain's Cameron Unveils Plan to Win in 2015, with Eye on UKIP

Prime Minister David Cameron detailed his plan for winning the 2015 general election Wednesday with a raft of measures to help struggling Britons, designed to shut down support for the UK Independence Party.

Closing his Conservative Party's annual conference, Cameron unveiled a string of proposals on everything from cutting taxes to boosting employment which he said would "build a Britain that everyone is proud to call home".

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Turkish Police Detain 'IS Sympathizers' after Student Protest

Turkish police on Wednesday detained three students at Istanbul University suspected of being sympathizers of the Islamic State (IS) group following clashes at an anti-jihadist campus protest, reports said.

Police stormed the university's faculty of humanities and science in Istanbul's Beyazit district after Islamist students armed with sticks and stones attacked another group protesting against IS.

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U.N. Says Iraq Violence Killed at Least 1,119 Last Month

Acts of violence across Iraq killed at least 1,119 people last month, according to U.N. figures released Wednesday excluding the restive western province of Anbar and casualties among jihadists.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said at least 854 civilians and 265 members of the security forces were killed in September, and close to 2,000 injured.

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Israel, Palestinians Finally Agree -- on Futility of Talks

Months after the collapse of U.S.-led efforts to advance Middle East peace, experts say Palestinians and Israelis have finally agreed on at least one thing -- further talks would be futile.

And, as has so often been the case in the intractable conflict, neither side looks set to propose any kind of meaningful alternative.

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Prevent Crises before the Price Spirals, Urges U.N. Chief

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged the international community to stem crises before they emerge, instead of waiting to pick up the pieces after they spin out of control.

"When there is a fire, everybody knows what to do. They bring all the fire engines to put out the fire. It looks very dynamic and heroic," Ban told a high-level meeting of the U.N. refugee agency.

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Bruised by War, Poroshenko Faces Big Election Test

He has been tormented by a bloody pro-Russian uprising and the near-bankruptcy of his young but bitterly conflicted former Soviet state.

Now President Petro Poroshenko's success in handling both crises will be tested when Ukrainians pick a new parliament that could make or break his post-war revival plans.

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