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More Firepower at Russian Base as Bombers Pound Syria

A fully armed Sukhoi-24 bomber roared deafeningly down the runway at Russia's Hmeimim base in Syria and took off into the sky over the war-torn country.

Within a few minutes another jet laden with bombs hurtled along the tarmac after it and followed up towards the clouds. Then another, and another.

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Arab Spring: Tunisia Advances amid Widespread Unrest

Five years after triggering the Arab Spring, Tunisians doggedly pursue a democratic transition as other countries remain gripped by violence and repression.

Here is a recap of where things now stand in the Middle East and North Africa:

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Poland is No Country for New Men

For most refugees arriving in Poland, it is only a stop on the way to wealthier and more welcoming European Union members.

The small percentage who choose to stay on in the devoutly Catholic country are faced with a population whose majority is hostile to migrants, especially Muslims, and an integration policy that only exists on paper.

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America's Penchant for Guns Stronger than ever after Attacks

The Paris and San Bernardino attacks have fueled a surge in U.S. gun sales, as Americans seek to protect themselves -- and stock up in case lawmakers finally act to tighten firearms controls.

Since a Muslim husband and wife opened fire in California on December 2, killing 14 people and wounding 22 others, sales at the RTSP range in New Jersey -- one of the largest centers in the northeastern United States -- have surged 50 percent, according to one of its owners.

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South Sudan War: A Long List of Broken Deals

Two years since South Sudan's civil war broke out on December 15, 2013, at least eight ceasefires and power-sharing deals have been agreed and broken.

President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have repeatedly accused each other of breaking the deals but say they remain committed to the current peace accord, signed in August, despite missing every listed deadline.

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Trump's Idea of a Muslim Ban Has Legal Experts Divided

There's no legal or historical precedent for closing U.S. borders to the world's 1.6 billion Muslims, but neither is there any Supreme Court case that clearly prevents a president or Congress from doing so.

Legal experts are divided over how the high court would react to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call for a temporary halt to Muslims entering the United States.

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Mugabe's Frailty Intensifies Zimbabwe Leadership Race

Zimbabwe's ruling party at the weekend publicly endorsed 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe as its candidate for elections in 2018 -- but his visible frailty means that backstage the focus was on his successor.

Mugabe has stumbled twice in recent public appearances, and in September read a speech to parliament apparently unaware that he had delivered exactly the same address a month earlier.

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Failure of Inter-Korea Talks Highlights Longstanding Mistrust

The mutual recriminations after the failure of North and South Korea's latest talks underline the depth of distrust and animosity that has plagued cross-border relations for decades.

The rare high-level talks ended Saturday night after two days of marathon negotiations produced no agreement on any issues -- not even an agreement on whether to meet again.

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Europe Feels Fallout from Merkel Migrant Magnanimity

Angela Merkel may have won praise from the world for Germany's open-door policy on refugees, but a confused and divided Europe is feeling the fallout from the decision, analysts said.

The German chancellor's sudden move in early September to welcome asylum seekers from Syria opened bitter rifts in the EU and raised fears for the future of the passport-free Schengen zone.

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Could Saudi Oil Obstruct a Paris Climate Deal?

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude oil exporter, has a lot to lose if the global economy shifts to clean energy.

So at 195-nation U.N. talks in Paris aimed at forging a climate-saving accord that will slash greenhouse gas emissions, it is perhaps not surprising that Riyadh stands accused of playing the role of a spoiler.

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