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African Union Chief: Boko Haram a Threat for Africa

Nigeria's Boko Haram militants are a threat beyond Nigeria's borders and the crisis requires a "collective, effective and decisive response" by African nations, the African Union's Commission chief said Friday.

"Terrorism, in particular the brutality of Boko Haram against our people, are a threat to our collective safety, security and development. This has now spread to the region beyond Nigeria and requires a collective, effective and decisive response," AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a speech opening a two-day summit of African leaders in Addis Ababa.

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S. Africa Apartheid Assassin 'Prime Evil' Granted Parole

One of South Africa's most notorious apartheid murderers, Eugene de Kock -- dubbed "Prime Evil" -- was granted parole Friday after 20 years in jail.

"In the interest of nation-building and reconciliation I have decided to place Mr De Kock on parole," Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha told a news briefing.

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Five Troops, 19 Civilians Killed in East Ukraine

Twenty-four people, including 19 civilians, were killed in the past 24 hours in clashes between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine, officials said Friday.

Pro-Kiev officials in the separatist region of Donetsk said dozens of people were also wounded in shelling across the industrial province. The Ukrainian military said 23 soldiers were injured in the fighting, which has claimed at least 5,100 lives over the last nine months.

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Aquino Vows Justice for Dead Commandos on Day of Mourning

Philippine President Benigno Aquino pledged justice for the families of 44 police commandos killed by Muslim rebels during a botched anti-terror operation, as he led tributes on Friday -- a national day of mourning.

The men were killed in confrontations with two rebel groups in the southern Philippines on Sunday while on a mission to catch or kill Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, who is accused of involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia in which 202 people died.

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Taliban Claim Kabul Airport 'Insider' Killings

The Taliban on Friday claimed responsibility for an apparent "insider attack" at Kabul airport in which three American contractors and an Afghan were killed.

Details of the Thursday evening shooting are still unclear, with a spokesman for NATO's Resolute Support mission saying the incident is under investigation.

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Burundi Rivals Hold Talks to Ease Pre-vote Tensions

Burundi's ruling party has said it is "ready for compromise" with the opposition to ensure peaceful elections, as warnings mount of the risk of violence in the upcoming key polls.

Opposition politicians however said they were suspicious of the apparent olive branch.

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French PM Valls Stops Short of Calling China an Ally

Visiting French Prime Minister Manuel Valls shied away at the last moment from calling China and France faithful "allies" on Friday.

The description was included in the advance text of a speech to businessmen distributed to the press.

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A Bus Ticket for Bulgaria, and then Jihad

When Bulgarian police on January 1 arrested Frenchman Fritz-Joly Joachin, a self-confessed "old friend" of the Charlie Hebdo attackers, he was not the first suspected Islamist trying to cross the EU's south-eastern border into Turkey.

Indeed, Bulgarian Interior Minister Veselin Vuchkov says, "hundreds" of Europeans have travelled to Bulgaria to traverse the 275-kilometre (170-mile) border into Turkey, some then crossing into Syria to join Islamic State (IS) militants.

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N. Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un Set for Global Debut

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un looks set to take an initial, tentative step onto the global stage with a visit in May to Russia -- his first trip abroad since coming to power three years ago.

Kim may not have the physique or bearing of a shy debutante, but Moscow will be his diplomatic "coming out" and minutely scrutinised, especially with other world leaders, including China's Xi Jinping, expected to be there.

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Texas Executes Killer who Claimed Mental Impairment

The state of Texas on Thursday executed a convicted rapist-killer whose lawyers argued was severely mentally impaired, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court refused last-minute appeals to spare him.

Robert Ladd, who had an IQ of 67, was executed by lethal injection at 7:02 pm (0102 GMT Friday) in the state's death chamber in Huntsville, justice department spokesman Jason Clark said.

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