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Disruption Continues at Rome's Disaster-Hit Airport

Flights in and out of Rome's disaster-hit Fiumicino airport were seriously disrupted for a second day Thursday after a fire in a nearby pine grove threw dense smoke across the runway.

The blaze on Wednesday forced the suspension of all flights for two hours, with long delays stretching into the night even after the fire was brought under control.

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Ukraine Bans French Lawmakers who Visited Crimea

Ukraine on Thursday blacklisted a group of right-wing French lawmakers who ignored warnings from Paris and paid an unofficial but highly publicized visit to Russian-occupied Crimea.

The 10 lower and upper house members used their weekend stay to praise Russian President Vladimir Putin and the living standards of the economically-isolated Black Sea peninsula -- seized from Ukraine in the wake of last year's ouster of its Kremlin-backed president.

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U.S. Envoy Says 'Patience Has Run out' over South Sudan

The U.S. special envoy to South Sudan said Thursday that patience has run out over the country's civil war, pressing the message that the warring parties were running out of time to strike a deal and stop fighting.

Regional mediators, backed by U.S. President Barack Obama during his recent visit to Kenya and Ethiopia, have given South Sudan's rivals until August 17 to stop the 19-month-old civil war.

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U.S. Officer Pleads Not Guilty in Murder of Black Man

A white Ohio policeman who shot a black man during a routine traffic stop in what prosecutors called a "senseless" act motivated by anger pleaded not guilty to murder Thursday.

The case comes as the United States grapples with heightened racial tensions in the wake of a series of high-profile incidents of unarmed African Americans being killed by police in disputed circumstances.

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Russia Arrests Journalist for Links to Nationalist Group

Russian authorities have arrested a journalist from a respected independent business media outlet on extremism charges over his alleged membership of a nationalist group, officials said on Thursday.

A Moscow court on Wednesday ordered Alexander Sokolov, a journalist with the RBK newspaper and website, be held in custody until September 22 as investigators probed him for helping to run a right-wing anti-government organization.  

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Burundi Opposition Leader Takes Top Parliament Job despite Months of Unrest

Burundi's main opposition leader Agathon Rwasa was Thursday elected as deputy head of the national parliament, despite having condemned recent elections and supported months of civil unrest.

Rwasa, who has denounced the third consecutive term win by President Pierre Nkurunziza, had said earlier this week that he intended to "play the game" in order to try and help find a solution to the country's political crisis -- but has already been branded a "traitor" by other opposition figures.

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China, Russia to Hold Joint Naval, Air Drills

China and Russia will hold joint military drills in the waters and airspace of the Sea of Japan, Beijing said Thursday, the latest defense cooperation between the countries.

The exercises will take place August 20 to 28 in the Peter the Great Gulf and other areas off the Russian coast, defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told reporters.

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Afghan Taliban Silent on Mullah Omar, Disavow Peace Talks

The Taliban on Thursday distanced itself from peace talks that had been expected this week with the Afghan government, while making no comment on Kabul's reported death of their leader Mullah Omar.

Afghanistan on Wednesday said Omar died two years ago in Pakistan, in the first such official confirmation from Kabul after unnamed government and militant sources reported the demise of the reclusive warrior-cleric.

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'A weird Thing on the Shore' Sparks MH370 Speculation

Johnny Begue had no idea as he wandered along the shore looking for a pebble to grind up chillies that he would stumble across a piece of plane wreckage which would draw the eyes of the world to his tiny island home.

Begue leads a team of eight people charged with cleaning up the coastline and a popular fitness trail in the town of Saint-Andre on the east of the French island of La Reunion.

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Boko Haram Slits Throats of 10 Fishermen near Lake Chad

Boko Haram Islamists slit the throats of 10 fishermen in villages near Baga on the shores of the Lake Chad in northeastern Nigeria, a leading fisherman and a resident said Thursday.

"On Monday around 4 pm (1500 GMT), Boko Haram attacked three villages on the shores of Lake Chad where they slaughtered 10 people, all of them fishermen," Abubakar Gamandi, head of the fishermen's union in Borno State, told AFP.

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