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Spanish PM Rajoy Launches Re-Election Bid against Upstart Rivals

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy officially kicked off his campaign for re-election Thursday evening with the promise that his party "takes Spain seriously", ahead of tight legislative polls on 20 December.

The head of the outgoing government faces three challengers who were unknown when he first took power in 2011: rising star Albert Rivera, 36, from the centrist Ciudadanos party, the Socialists' Pedro Sanchez, 43, and far-left Podemos candidate Pablo Iglesias, 37.

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Unrest Warnings as Oil Giant Venezuela Set to Vote

Venezuela's opposition will fight to seize control of the legislature from the socialist government in elections on Sunday that leaders warn risk sparking violence in the crisis-hit major oil producer.

For the first time in 16 years of "Bolivarian revolution" under late president Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, polls show their rivals could now win a majority in the National Assembly.

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Young Migrant Killed on Motorway Close to Channel Tunnel

A teenage migrant died when he was hit by a van on a motorway close to the Channel Tunnel near Calais Thursday, becoming the 18th person to die trying to reach Britain from the northern French port since June.

A van hit the Sudanese 16-year-old on the motorway connecting the tunnel to port of Calais late in the afternoon, according to emergency services.

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UK Opposition Leader Corbyn Passes Key First Election Test

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn passed a key electoral test on Friday when his Labor party won in the first regional ballot since he took the helm in September.

The win bolsters the embattled leader of Britain's main opposition group amid mounting talk of a leadership challenge, and as the anti-European Union UK Independence Party (UKIP) targets voters in former Labor strongholds.

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No Transit for U.S.-Bound Cuban Migrants, Says Guatemala

Thousands of Cubans backed up in Costa Rica and Panama in a frustrated bid to reach the United States will not be permitted to transit through Guatemala, Costa Rica's foreign minister said Thursday.

The Guatemalan government has rejected that proposal, Manuel Gonzalez said, dealing another blow to Costa Rica's advocacy of a Central American "humanitarian corridor."

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Clinton Vows to Pursue Extremists 'in Air, on Ground, in Cyberspace'

Hillary Clinton pledged Thursday to take the fight to Islamic extremists "in the air, on the ground and in cyberspace," in echoes of Winston Churchill's rousing World War Two speech.

It comes a day after a young couple shot dead 14 people at a California holiday party, and although officials stress it is too soon to say what their motive was, President Barack Obama said it was "possible" it was terrorism-related.

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12 Bombs Found at U.S. Shooting Suspects' Home, Obama Says Terror 'Possible'

A young couple behind a mass shooting in California that left 14 dead had amassed a huge arsenal and carefully planned their attack, authorities said Thursday, refusing to rule out terrorism.

The suspects -- Syed Farook, 28, and his 27-year-old wife Tashfeen Malik -- were killed in a shootout with police after Wednesday's rampage at a holiday party in San Bernardino, about an hour's drive east of Los Angeles.

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Over 1,500 Boat Migrants Rescued Off Libya

Over 1,500 migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast in seven separate operations, the Italian navy said Thursday, after a break in bad weather sparked fresh attempts at the perilous Mediterranean crossing.

The migrants were plucked from their boats by the Italian coastguard, the navy, a Doctors Without Borders boat and two vessels operating under the EU's Operation Sophia, which patrols the sea for people smugglers.

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Chechen Strongman Confirms Man Beheaded by IS was Russian

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on Thursday confirmed the man executed by the Islamic State group in a recent video was a Chechen from Russia but dismissed claims he was a Russian spy.

"This Russian is a Chechen. He was decapitated. These are confirmed facts," Kadyrov said in comments on his official website. 

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Turkey, Russia FMs Meet for First Talks after Warplane Crisis

The foreign ministers of Turkey and Russia met in Belgrade on Thursday in the first high-level bilateral talks since the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkish jets sparked an unprecedented crisis. 

The meeting between Russia's Sergei Lavrov and Turkey's Mevlut Cavusoglu was held on the sidelines of the ministerial council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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