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Mali Islamist Rebel Group Says against Tuareg Independence

The Islamist group Ansar Dine says that despite battling alongside the main Tuareg rebels in northern Mali, it is against their declaration of independence and is simply fighting for Islam.

"Our war is a holy war. It's a legal war in the name of Islam. We are against rebellions. We are against independence. We are against revolutions not in the name of Islam," its military chief Omar Hamaha said, in a video obtained by Agence France Presse.

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Malawi Officially Confirms President's Death

The Malawi government confirmed the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika on Saturday, two days after the leader of the impoverished southern African country died.

A brief statement from the Cabinet confirmed what doctors had reported on condition of anonymity earlier, that Mutharika died Thursday following a heart attack. The Cabinet declared 10 days of mourning.

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France Releases 10 Islamists Arrested Wednesday

French police have released without charge 10 suspected Islamists arrested in pre-dawn raids two days ago, the second such swoop in less than a week, a judicial source said on Friday.

Of 10 alleged extremists arrested Wednesday, four were released on Thursday and the remaining six walked free on Friday, the official said.

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Avalanche Buries 130 Pakistan Soldiers

An avalanche smashed into a Pakistani army base on a Himalayan glacier close to India on Saturday, burying around 130 soldiers, a security official said.

Rescue efforts are under way on the remote and frigid Siachen Glacier, where thousands of Pakistani and Indian troops are based, the security official said.

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2 Dead, 17 Held in Azerbaijan Anti-Islamist Operation

Azerbaijan's security forces arrested 17 alleged Islamist militants in a nationwide operation Friday in which a security service officer and an alleged extremist were killed, authorities said.

The National Security Ministry "arrested 17 members of an illegal armed group which were planning subversive and terrorist acts aimed at undermining political stability in the country," the ministry said in a statement.

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U.S. Navy Jet Crashes into Virginia Apartment Block

A U.S. Navy F-18 jet crashed into a low-rise apartment building in Virginia on Friday triggering an inferno, military officials said, with emergency responders rushing to the scene.

The two crew members successfully ejected from the jet which plowed into a populated area in the eastern coastal tourist resort of Virginia Beach, the Navy confirmed on Twitter but there was little word on civilians in the area.

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Four Murders near Paris Spark Fears of New Serial Killer

Fears grew Friday that a serial killer was stalking housing estates in the suburbs of Paris, where the same weapon has been used to murder four apparently innocent citizens since November.

The latest killing on Thursday of a 47-year-old mother, shot dead near her home in the Essonne suburb, prompted Interior Minister Claude Gueant to vow every effort was being made to find the killer.

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Russia Calls U.S. Sentence of Viktor Bout 'Baseless and Biased'

Moscow on Friday condemned the U.S. sentencing of Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout as baseless and politically-motivated, pledging to do all it can to ensure his return home.

Bout was handed a 25-year prison sentence on Thursday after being found guilty of conspiring to sell arms to anti-U.S. guerrillas in Colombia and to kill American service personnel.

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Report: Algeria Rules Out Mali Split, Foreign Intervention

Algeria is opposed to Mali's break-up and wants dialogue to resolve the crisis with its southern neighbor, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia was quoting as saying Friday, warning against foreign intervention.

Algeria "will never accept questioning Mali's territorial integrity," Ouyahia told France's Le Monde newspaper on Thursday, before a Tuareg rebel group had declared the independence of their desert homeland they call Azawad.

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Suicide Bomber Kills Afghan Peace Envoy

A suicide bomber assassinated an Afghan peace envoy and former mujahedeen commander on Friday, along with his son in an eastern region close to the Pakistan border, officials said.

Maulavi Mohammed Hashem Munib, the head of the High Peace Council in Kunar province, was the target, said provincial police chief Ewaz Mohammed Nazari.

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