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Burkina Army Seizes Power after Uprising Against Veteran Ruler

Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore was toppled on Thursday as the army took power after protesters set parliament ablaze in a popular uprising against the veteran leader's 27-year-rule.

The demonstrators earlier forced the government to scrap a vote on controversial plans to allow Compaore to extend his reign, with tens of thousands of people joining a mass rally in the capital Ouagadougou calling for the strongman to go.

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Ukraine, Russia, EU Agree Gas Supply Deal

Russia agreed to resume gas deliveries to Ukraine in an EU-brokered deal reached by the three parties in Brussels on Thursday, an EU source said.

The details will be outlined by European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso as well as the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers during a press conference announced for 2045 GMT, the source said.

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U.N. Says Gunmen Wound Two Peacekeepers in Darfur

Two peacekeepers were wounded when gunmen opened fire on their patrol in Sudan's troubled Darfur region, the U.N. said Thursday, two weeks after three of their colleagues were killed.

The soldiers were wounded when unidentified attackers shot at them as they collected water in the Kutum district of North Darfur state on Wednesday, the joint United Nations African Union mission told AFP.

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Four Killed in Small Plane Crash at Kansas Airport

At least four people were killed and five more hurt Thursday when a small plane crashed into an airport training building housing flight simulators in the U.S. state of Kansas.

The twin-engine aircraft lost engine power shortly after takeoff and crashed while attempting to return to the runway at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

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Mugabe Defends Wife's Nomination to Party Leadership

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Thursday defended his wife's nomination to lead the powerful women's wing of the ruling ZANU-PF, as the campaign to succeed him intensifies ahead of a crucial party congress.

"Why are some people so much opposed to it?" said Mugabe to hundreds of supporters who had gathered at the party's headquarters to back him and his wife.

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U.S. to Check Troops for Chemical Exposure in Iraq

The U.S. military will launch new medical examinations for troops and veterans exposed to chemical weapons in Iraq, and review claims they were ordered to stay silent about such contact, officials said Thursday.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has asked the U.S. Army and Navy secretaries to ensure troops affected by chemical munitions "are receiving the care and the support they require," spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

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Niger Says 9 Security Forces Killed by 'Terrorists'

Nine security agents in Niger were killed on Thursday in multiple "terrorist" attacks in the western Tillaberi region near Mali, the government said.

"Terrorists staged simultaneous attacks. Five policemen, two gendarmes and two national guards were killed," the defense and interior ministries said in a joint statement.

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Afghanistan's Ghani Drops Pashtun Name from Official Documents

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has removed his tribal Pashtun surname "Ahmadzai" from all official documents, a spokesman told AFP on Thursday.

"The chairman of the Office of Administrative Affairs Abdul Salam Rahimi has sent a formal letter to all the ministries and state institutions to call the President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani," said deputy presidential spokesman Fayeq Wahidi.

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African Union Hits Back at Somalia Rape Allegations

The African Union has hit back against claims its internationally-funded troops in Somalia have gang raped women and girls, accusing the rights group behind the report of being unfair and inaccurate.

In a letter of response to Human Rights Watch released by the AU on Thursday, the pan-African bloc also said the rights group had undermined peace efforts in war-torn Somalia.

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Russia's Top Rights Group Lists 46 'Political Prisoners'

Russia's most prominent human rights group on Thursday published a list of 46 "political prisoners," including Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and a Ukrainian pilot detained in Moscow, Nadia Savchenko.

Rights group Memorial publishes an annual list of those it deems to be political prisoners. The Kremlin denies Russia imprisons anyone for political motives but President Vladimir Putin's third term in office has seen a crackdown on the leaders of opposition protests.

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