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Under Fire in Refugee Crisis, Merkel Goes on Offensive

Under growing domestic pressure over her open-door policy on refugees, Germany's Angela Merkel has come out swinging, insisting "we will manage" the crisis set to define her nearly decade-old chancellorship.

Usually calm and measured if not dull, Merkel spoke passionately in an hour-long TV interview late Wednesday on one of Germany's most popular talk shows.

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Indian Kashmir Rebels Kill Top Anti-Terror Officer

Militants have killed one of Indian Kashmir's most senior police officers, credited with hundreds of successful anti-insurgency operations in the restive region, police said Thursday.

Gunmen opened fire on sub-inspector Mohammad Altaf during a covert operation against a top rebel in Kashmir's northern Bandipore area on Wednesday and he later died in hospital, officers said.

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Bulgaria Arrests Dutch Trio on 'Terrorism' Charges

Bulgarian authorities said Thursday that three Dutch people wanted on "terrorism" charges were arrested allegedly trying to cross the border into Turkey.

The two men, 18 and 22, and a woman, 17, are wanted on European Arrest Warrants issued by their home country for "participation in a terrorist organisation," Bulgarian prosecutors said.

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Surge in Migrants Crossing into Macedonia

The number of migrants and refugees entering Macedonia from Greece has risen significantly, with 10,000 making the crossing in the past 24 hours, police said Thursday.

Since early September, the border has normally seen around 3,000 to 5,000 daily crossings by migrants, many of them fleeing conflict in the Middle East, heading to northern Europe hoping to start new lives.

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Austria Warns Migrant 'Hotspots' Far from Ready

Planned EU "hotspots" on Europe's outer borders to better deal with the influx of thousands of migrants are far from ready, Austria's chancellor warned Thursday after visiting one such site in Greece.

"In terms of timing and organisation, nothing has been thought through," Werner Faymann told Austrian public radio in an interview. "A lot more has to happen... There are gaps everywhere."

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Erdogan Warns Russia over Turkey Nuclear, Gas Deals

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday warned Russia that Ankara has alternatives to Moscow for building its first nuclear power plant and importing gas, as tensions rise over the Russian bombing campaign in Syria.

Russia is building Turkey's first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu on the shores of the Mediterranean, a controversial $20 billion project aimed at improving its energy self sufficiency.

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EU Seeks to Speed up Deportations to Tackle Migrant Crisis

EU ministers pushed Thursday to speed up the deportation of failed asylum seekers in a bid to curb Europe's migration crisis, ahead of key talks with officials from the Balkans and nations bordering Syria.

In a sign of a tougher approach to the worst migration crisis since World War II, European interior ministers want a dedicated program to send back "economic" migrants who are largely from African nations.

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Brazil Court Hits Rousseff again, Fueling Impeachment Talk

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff suffered a new setback Wednesday when a court declared her government's accounting practices were illegal, handing ammunition to opponents threatening impeachment proceedings.

The Federal Accounts Court or TCU's ruling was the latest blow for Rousseff, who is less than a year into her second term. 

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Kyrgyzstan Jails Imam for Alleged Support to IS

Kyrgyzstan has sentenced a leading imam to five years in prison on extremism charges and for alleged support to the Islamic State group.

Imam Rashot Kamalov, who is from the country's volatile south, was sentenced on charges of inciting religious hatred and distributing extremist material, the regional court in the town of Kara-Suu confirmed Thursday. 

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NATO Head Sees 'Troubling Escalation' of Russian Activity in Syria

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Thursday of a "troubling escalation" in Russian military activity in Syria, as defense ministers held talks on Moscow's dramatically expanded air campaign.

Stoltenberg also said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was ready to deploy forces in key member Turkey if needed after Ankara complained about a series of airspace violations by Russian planes.

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