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Myanmar Sectarian Unrest 'displaces More Than 30,000'

Sectarian bloodshed has displaced tens of thousands of people in Myanmar, left dozens dead and many homes destroyed in western Rakhine state, a senior official said Thursday.

Twenty-nine people -- 16 Muslims and 13 Buddhists -- have been killed since Friday, with scores more wounded and nearly 2,600 homes burned, said Htein Lin, security and border affairs minister for Rakhine.

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Iran Warns U.S. over Military Bases in Afghanistan

Iran on Thursday warned a key international conference that a long-term U.S. military presence in Afghanistan would fan regional insecurity and could plunge the war-torn country back into further chaos.

Representatives from 29 countries gathered in Kabul for the conference, weeks after NATO agreed at a summit in Chicago to stick to plans to withdraw the bulk of 130,000 foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

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Iran Says Scientist Killers Linked to Israel Arrested

Iran on Thursday said it arrested a number of chief suspects in the assassinations of two of its nuclear scientists in the past two years, and claimed they were linked to Israel.

A statement from the intelligence ministry, published by state media, said "the main elements behind the killings... were arrested and moved to detention" following an investigation of at least 18 months involving surveillance in Iran and abroad.

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Germany Targets Radical Salafists in Nationwide Raids

German police carried out raids in seven different regional states early Thursday targeting individuals suspected of belonging to radical Islamic Salafist groups, the interior ministry said.

At the same time, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich banned one particular network known as "Millatu Ibrahim".

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U.N. Council Refuses to Back Mali Intervention Force

The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday held back support for an African intervention force in Mali, where rebels and al-Qaida allies have taken over the north of the country.

Unrest in Mali, tensions between Sudan and South Sudan, a coup in Guinea-Bissau and Somalia's troubled transitional government dominated annual talks between the U.N. Council and the African Union's Peace and Security Council.

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5.5 Quake Hits Southeast Turkey, Causing Limited Damage

An earthquake of 5.5 magnitude jolted southeastern Turkey Thursday, Turkey's quake observatory said, knocking the minaret off a mosque in the city of Sirnak but injuring no-one, officials said.

The tremor shook the southeastern province of Sirnak at 0552 GMT, 5.4 kilometers (3.3 miles) below the ground, Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory announced on its website.

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28 Dead in Myanmar Sectarian Unrest

Twenty-eight people have been killed and dozens more wounded in several days of sectarian clashes in western Myanmar, a government official said Thursday.

A state of emergency has been declared for Rakhine state, which has been rocked by a wave of rioting and arson, posing a major test for the reformist government which took power last year.

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Kabul Hosts Conference on Afghanistan's Future after NATO Pullout

Afghanistan on Thursday hosts the latest round of international talks on its future after NATO troops leave in 2014, with the conflict in Syria also likely to feature prominently in ministerial meetings.

Representatives from 29 countries are gathering in Kabul for the one-day conference, which follows a meeting in Istanbul in November aimed at mapping out the future of the war-torn country after the withdrawal of coalition troops.

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U.S. Drone Kills at Least 3 Militants in Northwest Pakistan

A U.S. drone attack killed at least three militants early Thursday in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region, known as a hotbed of Taliban and al-Qaida militants, security officials said.

The drone fired two missiles on a building in the central market of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials said.

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Report: U.S. Expanding Secret Spy Bases in Africa

The United States military is expanding a secret network of air bases across Africa in order to spy on al-Qaida and other militant groups, the Washington Post reported late Wednesday.

The surveillance is carried out by small, unmarked turboprop planes with hidden state-of-the-art sensors that fly thousands of miles (kilometers) between air bases and bush landing strips across the vast continent, it said.

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