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U.S. Boosts Maritime Law Enforcement Aid to Four Asian Nations

The United States Thursday announced it had quadrupled support to Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia to boost their law enforcement capabilities at sea, but stressed that the move was not connected to a bitter regional maritime dispute with Beijing.

"This initiative at this time constitutes more than $100 million dollars of U.S. assistance for maritime law enforcement to these four nations," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield said in a telephone press conference from Washington.

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MSF Says 33 Staff, Patients Still Missing after U.S. Air Strike

Thirty-three people are still missing five days after a catastrophic U.S. air strike on a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz that has prompted international outrage, medical charity Doctors Without Borders said Thursday.

Of the missing, nine are patients and 24 are staff, according to Guilhem Molinie, country representative for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Afghanistan.

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U.N. Accused of Killing Five Civilians in DRCongo Copter Attack

The governor of North Kivu province in the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of Congo told AFP on Thursday that five civilians had been killed in a U.N. helicopter attack against rebel fighters this week.

The MONUSCO force, the United Nations' largest peacekeeping mission worldwide, on Tuesday announced it had carried out a helicopter-backed raid on rebels Monday under "its mandate to protect civilians" in the central Pinga region.

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France Proposes EU Border Guard Corps

France has formally proposed setting up an EU border guard corps to better secure the bloc's external borders which have been inundated by huge numbers of migrants and refugees, an EU source said Thursday.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve made the proposal to his 27 EU counterparts during talks in Luxembourg and details will be discussed at a summit in Brussels next week, the source said on condition of anonymity.

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Protesting MPs Release Tear Gas in Kosovo Parliament

Opposition lawmakers released clouds of tear gas in Kosovo's parliament Thursday, causing two MPs to faint, in protest at a recent EU-brokered deal reached by the government with Serbia.

The session was immediately canceled as smoke filled the chamber and two female lawmakers were taken by ambulance to hospital, said an AFP reporter at the scene.

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U.S. Issues Myanmar Election Security Warning

The United States has warned its citizens travelling to Myanmar of potential security problems during the landmark November elections pitting Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition against the country's military elites.

Myanmar is one month away from polls that many hope will be the country's freest for decades, with Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy likely to wrest significant gains from the quasi-civilian ruling party that has governed since the end of outright junta rule in 2011. 

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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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