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Democratic ex-Senator Webb Enters U.S. Presidential Race

Former U.S. senator Jim Webb of Virginia, a Vietnam war veteran who served as secretary of the navy, announced Thursday he is running for president, challenging frontrunner Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

"After many months of thought, deliberation and discussion, I have decided to seek the office of the presidency of the United States," Webb said in a Facebook post.

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U.S. Repatriates 38 Cuban Migrants

The U.S. Coast Guard returned 38 Cuban migrants Thursday after they were picked up at sea on unseaworthy vessels.

The migrants were taken to Bahia de Cabanas, Cuba by the 154-foot cutter Raymond Evans, which is based in Key West, Florida, a Coast Guard statement said.

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U.N. Orders Probe of Alleged 'Crimes against Humanity' in Eritrea

The U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday decided to prolong an investigation into horrendous abuses in Eritrea, and widen it to include looking into suspected crimes against humanity.

The 47-member rights body unanimously agreed to extend for another year the work of a special commission of inquiry on the human rights situation in the autocratic Horn of Africa state.

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U.N. Observers Say Burundi Elections Not Free or Credible

U.N. observers have ruled that elections in Burundi that were wracked by violence and boycotted by the opposition were not free or credible, a U.N. spokesman said Thursday.

"The overall environment was not conducive for free, credible and inclusive elections," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said.

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Ukraine Rebels Announce Disputed Elections in October

A top pro-Russian rebel announced plans Thursday to hold local elections in October that would cement the separatists' semi-autonomous status within a united Ukraine.

Alexander Zakharchenko said the October 18 vote would be conducted "on the basis of Ukrainian the parts where it does not contradict the constitution and law" of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

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Iran Nuclear Talks Set to Drag into Weekend -- and Beyond

Agonizing talks towards a grand bargain nuclear deal between Iran and major powers looked set Thursday to drag into the weekend and beyond, with stubborn differences still separating the two sides in Vienna.

There was little indication meanwhile whether the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog had made any progress in Tehran on one of the main sticking points: a probe into allegations of past nuclear westernization work.

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Nearly 150 Dead in Suspected Boko Haram Attacks in NE Nigeria

Suspected Boko Haram militants killed nearly 150 people in northeastern Nigerian villages, mowing down men and children while they prayed in mosques and shooting women preparing food at home, witnesses said Thursday.

Dozens of militants stormed three remote villages in the flashpoint Borno state on Wednesday evening, slaughtering residents and setting houses ablaze in the bloodiest day of attacks by the extremist group since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in May.

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U.S. Envoy Called to Merkel Office over Fresh Spying Reports

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office asked the U.S. ambassador to come in Thursday over new allegations of NSA spying, which threaten to drive a new wedge through transatlantic ties.

In the latest eruption in a nearly two-year rift over illicit espionage, Merkel's chief of staff Peter Altmeier called the U.S. envoy, John Emerson, to the chancellery "to make clear that respect for German law is non-negotiable and proven violations will be prosecuted", Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said. 

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French Court Cancels Elder Le Pen's Suspension from Far-Right FN

A French court on Thursday canceled the suspension of Jean-Marie Le Pen from the far-right National Front after he was booted out of the party he founded in a bitter spat with his daughter.

The court ordered the party to "restore" Le Pen's membership and position as honorary president two months after he was ousted by his daughter Marine, who now leads the party.

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French Mom Jailed for 9 years for killing eight babies

A French court jailed a housewife for nine years Thursday for killing eight of her newborns after a dramatic trial in which she lied about having an incestuous relationship with her father.

Dominique Cottrez, a 51-year-old former health worker, was found guilty of suffocating eight of her babies between 1989 and 2000, shortly after secretly giving birth to them. 

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