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The Islamic State: A Year of Death and Destruction

The Islamic State jihadist group launched a sweeping offensive a year ago that overran large chunks of Iraqi territory, led to thousands of deaths and displaced millions of people.

These are some key events in the conflict:

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A Year in Office, al-Sisi Tries to Rule Egypt as 1-Man Show

The words of the pro-government TV talk show host left no room for debate. President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is synonymous with Egypt, he lectured his audience, and Egyptians are either on his side or are enemies of the nation.

"Whoever has a problem living in this country should grab his passport and leave," said the TV host, Tamer Amin, telling viewers no one should complain about price hikes, power outages or other problems.

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Pakistan Bus Attack Points to Growing IS Influence

Investigators probing the first attack claimed in Pakistan by the Islamic State group believe a notorious local sectarian group may have carried out the massacre as it seeks to expand its ties to the Middle East.

Gunmen stormed a bus in Karachi last month, killing 45 members of the Shiite Ismaili community in one of the deadliest incidents in Pakistan this year.

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FIFA Dominoes Fall, but Does the Trail Lead to Blatter?

The U.S. investigation into world football governing body FIFA is modeled after an operation against an organized crime gang.

Each henchman to fall is like a domino, knocking over others in a chain to the presumed Mr Big.

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Media Freedom a Delicate Balancing Act in Tunisia

Tunisia, birthplace of the Arab Spring, faces a dilemma as it struggles to reconcile national security and media freedom in a country facing a rise in jihadist unrest.

The debate has been raging for weeks in Tunisia, where parliament in January 2014 ratified a new constitution guaranteeing freedom of expression after decades of authoritarian and oppressive rule.

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Ex-Inmates Regret Destruction of Notorious Syrian Prison

For decades, the mere mention of Tadmur Prison was enough to send chills down a Syrian's spine.

The notorious facility in the desert of central Syria was where thousands of dissidents were reported to have been beaten, humiliated and systematically tortured for opposing the Assad family's rule.

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French Soldiers Stalked by Invisible Enemy in Mali

Based in Mali's inhospitable northern desert, French troops are waging an attritional campaign against a ghost-like, invisible enemy -- a master in the guerrilla art of hit-and-run.

More than two years after the French-led Operation Serval routed jihadists advancing on the capital Bamako, armed groups in the area are no longer able to carry out coordinated attacks.

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Study Says Girls Seek Sisterhood _ Not Just Marriage _ in IS

The notion that young women are traveling to Syria solely to become "jihadi brides" is simplistic and hinders efforts to prevent other girls from being radicalized, new research suggests.

Young women are joining the so-called Islamic State group for many reasons, including anger over the perceived persecution of Muslims and the wish to belong to a sisterhood with similar beliefs, according to a report released Thursday by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King's College London.

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Syria Regime 'to Accept De Facto Partition' of Country

Weakened by years of war, Syria's government appears ready for the country's de facto partition, defending strategically important areas and leaving much of the country to rebels and jihadists, experts and diplomats say.

The strategy was in evidence last week with the army's retreat from the ancient central city of Palmyra after an advance by the Islamic State group.

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At Mideast Forum, Hopes for Future amid Chaos

Against a backdrop of Iraq and Syria in flames, Middle Eastern political and business leaders sought to focus on a future of growth and investment for a region that for long has lagged behind. But present-day reality proved rather difficult to ignore, with the Islamic State group wreaking havoc not far from these Dead Sea shores.

"We are all aware of the crises in the news," host King Abdullah of Jordan told invitees at the regional World Economic Forum, held at a Dead Sea resort whose calm belied the mayhem raging a few hours' drive away.

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