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Landmark China Meet Could Alienate Taiwanese

A historic China-Taiwan summit this weekend is likely an attempt to boost Beijing's image ahead of elections on the island, but one that could alienate voters wary of mainland meddling, say analysts.

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will meet in Singapore on Saturday, in what will be the first face-to-face between leaders since the end of a civil war in 1949.

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Syria Regime Fears Diaspora Vote could Tip the Balance

An international bid to ensure Syrians abroad are allowed to vote in potential future elections is being seen by the regime in Damascus as an attempt to ensure it loses.

At issue is a clause in the final communique produced by international talks in Vienna last week that included 17 countries -- among them key regime backers Russia and Iran.

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'Spying' on the Pope: Vatican Leaks Reveal Dirty Dealings

The pope's private conversations allegedly wiretapped by a racy social climber and a Spanish prelate -- the latest scandal to hit the Vatican has unearthed claims of theft, debauchery and betrayal within the Catholic Church.

Leaked documents set to be published in two books on Wednesday purportedly reveal how charity money was allegedly spent on refurbishing the houses of powerful cardinals, while claiming the murky Vatican bank continues to shelter suspected criminals.

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Spotlight on IS after Claim it Downed Russian Jet

Despite a lack of evidence for the claim, the Islamic State group has stepped into the spotlight by saying it downed a Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt killing 224 people.

Experts say the jihadist group, whose local affiliate is waging an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, has managed to instil doubt about the cause of the crash in the rugged desert terrain.

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Uncertain Future for Turkey under Emboldened AKP

Turkey's long dominant Justice and Development Party (AK) scored a stunning election success at the weekend with a vote that returned it to single-party rule after months of political uncertainty.

The result is likely to bolster strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he seeks to expand his powers, but analysts warn it could further exacerbate deep rifts in Turkish society.

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What if Israel's Assassinated PM Rabin Had Lived?

Would Israelis and Palestinians now be living in peace with one another if a Jewish extremist had not assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin 20 years ago?

That question, and thoughts on the nature of today's Jewish state, are on the minds of many Israelis as the anniversary of the November 4, 1995 assassination highlights the gulf between visionary hope and stark reality.

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Egypt Air Crash: Accident or Attack?

Aviation experts point to a range of scenarios to explain the crash Saturday of a Russian jetliner in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.

International investigators have begun sifting through the wreckage and the Egyptian government says the plane's two "black box" flight recorders have been recovered.

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'Too Little, Too Late,' Say Critics of Obama's Syria Move

Barack Obama's decision to send special forces to Syria is too little and too late, say critics, who accuse the U.S. president of lacking a strategy for the war-torn country.  

After four and a half years of conflict that have left 250,000 dead and millions displaced, Washington says it will deploy elite U.S. commandos to Syria.

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U.S.'s Kerry on Mission to Reassure Nervous Central Asia

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Central Asia on Saturday for a five-day, five-nation tour of the "Stans," to reassure them they will not be forgotten.

Concern is mounting in the region that, as the U.S. operation in Afghanistan finally draws towards a close, Washington will lose interest in its landlocked northern neighbors.

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Survivors' Stories: Documenting the Human Cost of Boko Haram

Ibrahim fled his home in Gwoza, northeast Nigeria, in August last year, when invading Boko Haram fighters took over the town as part of the Islamist group's self-declared caliphate.

The businessman lost his home, cars, money and his brother, who was shot dead as they fled the carnage, spending 14 days on the road and barely eating.

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