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Exodus Grows as Afghans Escape Quagmire of Violence

Fingers nervously skittering over his cellphone, one Afghan man calls a people-smuggler in a third desperate attempt to claim asylum abroad, as a record number of people escape escalating violence.

The toppling of the repressive Taliban regime in 2001 had ignited new hope about the future of Afghanistan, bringing waves of Afghan refugees home, but recent years have witnessed a stark reversal of that trend.

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Palestinian Hunger Strike Tests Israel Force-Feeding Law

A nearly two-month hunger strike by a Palestinian detainee now in a coma may test a controversial new Israeli law on force-feeding, with doctors vowing to refuse to carry it out.

Mohammed Allan, 31, slipped into a coma on Friday after ingesting only water since June 18 in protest at his detention without charge by Israeli authorities.

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On Prison Island, Kurdish Leader Sidelined as Peace Unravels

With a ceasefire between Turkey and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in tatters, the man who could hold the key to restarting the peace process is sidelined and increasingly isolated on a heavily fortified prison island.

Abdullah Ocalan, the iconic leader of the PKK, has only the most limited access to the outside world from his top security jail on the island of Imrali on the Sea of Marmara following his sensational arrest by Turkish agents in Kenya in 1999.

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'Neocons' Re-Emerge amid U.S. Election Race

Once thought dead and buried on the battlefields of Iraq, a muscular and militaristic "neoconservative" approach to U.S. foreign policy is making a comeback.

For most of the last decade, the "neocons" -- personified by former vice president Dick Cheney and ex-Pentagon boss Donald Rumsfeld -- have been out of office and out of fashion.

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Anger, Debate 10 Years after Israel Quit Gaza

A synagogue now stocks fertilizers and a kindergarten has become offices: 10 years after Israel left Gaza, little remains of its former Jewish settlements bar the anger of those evicted and a still-heated debate.

As for Gazans themselves, they have other things on their minds besides the anniversary of what Israel calls its historic "disengagement" from the coastal Palestinian territory.

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Opposition Heads for Russia Cold on Anti-IS Coalition with Assad

Syrian opposition figures head to Moscow this week although they are unlikely to welcome Russia's plan for a new anti-jihadist coalition that would include embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Moscow has since June been pushing a plan for a broader grouping than the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) group, to include Syria's government and its allies.

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50 Years after Los Angeles' Watts Riots, Tensions still Simmer

On August 11, 1965, Marquette Frye, an African-American man, was stopped for drunk driving by a white officer in Los Angeles, touching off six days of riots that left 34 dead and changed America.

Fifty years later, many things have changed but the friction between police and the public remains.

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Iran Disagreement Shakes Democratic Party Politics

The White House responded with ill-disguised anger Friday to news that Chuck Schumer, a key Democratic ally in the Senate, will oppose the landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

In a statement -- purposely announced at the same time as the blockbuster Republican presidential debate Thursday -- Schumer said planned inspections of Iran's nuclear sites were not intrusive enough and would allow it to become a threshold nuclear state.

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Oman Mediator Credentials on Show in French Release in Yemen

The release of a French hostage held in Yemen with the help of Oman has once again highlighted the tiny sultanate's unique role as a discreet Gulf mediator.

France announced late Thursday that Isabelle Prime, who worked on a World Bank-funded project in Yemen, had been freed by her abductors after nearly six months in captivity.

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Despite Differences on Kurds, U.S. and Turkey Seek IS-free Syria Zone

The United States and Turkey are forging an alliance of convenience to deal with the Syrian crisis, cooperating to create a zone free of jihadists despite sharp disagreements over the role of Kurdish fighters.

After months of criticism that it was not doing enough to fight jihadists from the Islamic State group, Turkey last month made an about-turn in its strategy that was hailed by Washington and NATO.

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