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Syria monitor says army kills 6 in gas attack, military denies it
World

Syria monitor says army kills 6 in gas attack, military denies it

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A group monitoring the Syrian civil war said on Tuesday government forces carried out a poison gas attack that killed six people in the northwest, and medics posted videos of children suffering what they said was suffocation. A Syrian military source described the report of an attack in the village of Sarmin in Idlib province as propaganda. "We confirm that we would not use this type of weapon, and we don't need to use it," the source said.

Cattle herders kill 82 in Christian village in central Nigeria
World

Cattle herders kill 82 in Christian village in central Nigeria

ABUJA Mar 17 (Reuters) - Cattle herders killed 82 people and wounded 25 in a village in central Nigeria over grazing rights, police said on Tuesday, less than two weeks before a national election in which political and ethnic tensions are running high. Police went on Monday to investigate the attack by Muslim Fulani herdsmen on the mostly Christian Egba ethnic group at the weekend in the remote village Agatu Iga in Benue state, in the flashpoint "Middle Belt" of Africa's most populous nation

Syria must ensure chemical weapons programme completely dismantled - NATO
World

Syria must ensure chemical weapons programme completely dismantled - NATO

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The Syrian government must ensure its chemical weapons programme is completely and irreversibly dismantled, a NATO official said on Tuesday. "The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has already announced that the last declared chemical weapons have been removed from Syria," the official said, asked for comment after a group monitoring the Syrian civil war said government forces carried out a poison gas attack that killed six people. "Having said that, the Assad regime must ensure that its chemical weapons programme is completely and irreversibly dismantled, including the remaining production facilities," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said

Rescue teams reach cyclone stricken Vanuatu islands, official toll lowered
World

Rescue teams reach cyclone stricken Vanuatu islands, official toll lowered

TANNA (Reuters) - International aid agencies began emergency flights on Tuesday to some of the remote outer islands of Vanuatu, which they fear have been devastated by a monster cyclone that tore through the South Pacific island nation.

Egyptian court wants death penalty for Brotherhood leader and 13 others - sources
World

Egyptian court wants death penalty for Brotherhood leader and 13 others - sources

CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian court seeks the death penalty for the Muslim Brotherhood's top leader Mohamed Badie and 13 other members of the group for inciting chaos and planning attacks on police and army institutions, judicial sources said on Monday. The court formally referred the case to the Grand Mufti, the country's highest Islamic legal official, which is the first step towards imposing a death sentence.

Russia accuses Kiev of tightening blockade on rebel east
World

Russia accuses Kiev of tightening blockade on rebel east

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Monday that Kiev was stepping up a "blockade" of eastern Ukrainian regions controlled by pro-Russian rebels and accused Kiev of violating ceasefire agreements. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said during a visit to Berlin he wanted European Union leaders to make clear they would impose further economic sanctions against Russia if Moscow did not implement a ceasefire agreed in Minsk in February. But Russia insisted it was Ukraine that was fomenting tensions by increasing human suffering.

Russia's Putin reappears after 10 day absence, laughs off "gossip"
World

Russia's Putin reappears after 10 day absence, laughs off "gossip"

STRELNA, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin reappeared on Monday after 10 unexplained days out of public view, laughing off the "gossip" over his health that had erupted during his absence.

Twin bombings at churches in Pakistan kill 14, wound 78
World

Twin bombings at churches in Pakistan kill 14, wound 78

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - Bombs outside two churches in the Pakistani city of Lahore killed 14 people and wounded nearly 80 during Sunday services, and witnesses said quick action by a security guard prevented many more deaths. A Pakistani Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility. Islamist militants in Pakistan have attacked Christians and other religious minorities often over the last decade or more

Pope says feels great pain over Pakistan church attacks
World

Pope says feels great pain over Pakistan church attacks

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis said he felt great pain over bomb attacks outside two churches in Pakistan on Sunday, departing from scripted remarks in his customary address to decry "persecution" of Christians. "These are Christian churches.

Twin blasts at churches in Lahore kill five, wound 40
World

Twin blasts at churches in Lahore kill five, wound 40

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - Bombs outside two churches in the Pakistani city of Lahore killed five people and wounded more than 40 during Sunday services, rescue workers said, and witnesses said quick action by a security guard prevented many more deaths. A Pakistani Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility. The blasts in a majority Christian suburb of the eastern city went off minutes apart.

Kurdish govt says Islamic State used chlorine as weapon in Iraq
World

Kurdish govt says Islamic State used chlorine as weapon in Iraq

ARBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government said on Saturday it has evidence Islamic State used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against Kurdish peshmerga forces.

Iraqi troops pause, await back-up in battle for Tikrit against militants
World

Iraqi troops pause, await back-up in battle for Tikrit against militants

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi forces and mainly Shi'ite militiamen battling to wrest full control of the city of Tikrit from Islamic State militants paused their offensive for a second day on Saturday as they awaited reinforcements, a military source said. More than 20,000 troops and Iranian-backed Shi'ite fighters entered Tikrit on Wednesday, having retaken areas to the north and south in Iraq's biggest offensive against the militants yet

U.S. bird experts mystified by U.S. Midwest avian flu spread
World

U.S. bird experts mystified by U.S. Midwest avian flu spread

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A virulent strain of avian flu that has killed turkeys in the heart of the nation's poultry region has been found through molecular testing to be nearly identical to viruses isolated in migratory ducks. But some wildlife experts are sceptical of suggestions that wild birds are responsible for spreading the H5N2 flu strain that has infected poultry in Minnesota, Missouri and Arkansas. A top investigator from the U.S.

Mahatma Gandhi gets London statue near nemesis Churchill
World

Mahatma Gandhi gets London statue near nemesis Churchill

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will unveil a statue of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi on Saturday in London's prestigious Parliament Square, a space packed with monuments to men who defended the British Empire which Gandhi helped destroy. In an ironic twist, Gandhi's likeness will sit close to that of Britain's former wartime leader Winston Churchill, a man who strained to thwart Indian independence and who despised Gandhi and everything he stood for. Churchill famously called Gandhi "a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace." But almost seven decades after India won independence from Britain in 1947, in large part thanks to Gandhi's peaceful civil disobedience campaign, relations between the two countries are strong with both nations keen to boost economic ties.

Russia rejects U.S. concerns over Vietnam base role in bomber flights
World

Russia rejects U.S. concerns over Vietnam base role in bomber flights

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia on Friday rejected U.S. concerns about its use of a former American base in Vietnam for the refueling of Russian bomber flights around U.S.

Chad troops fighting Boko Haram redeploy, signalling possible new push
World

Chad troops fighting Boko Haram redeploy, signalling possible new push

N'DJAMENA/YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Much of the Chadian force fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria has withdrawn to Cameroon and is deploying further south, Chadian soldiers and a Cameroonian military official said on Thursday, signalling the potential start of a new offensive. Chad's military has spearheaded an operation by Nigeria's neighbours against the Islamist militant group that has killed thousands in northeast Nigeria and in recent months mounted an increasing number of cross-border raids. Nigeria has simultaneously launched an offensive to retake a series of towns with the backing of hundreds of mercenaries from South Africa and the former Soviet Union in a bid to secure towns ahead of a rescheduled March 28 election

Netanyahu's main challenger widens lead in Israeli pre-election polls
World

Netanyahu's main challenger widens lead in Israeli pre-election polls

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a last-minute media blitz on Thursday to counter what appears to be a rising tide of support for his main opponent in next week's election, the centrist Zionist Union. The latest opinion polls show momentum shifting to Zionist Union after weeks of running neck-and-neck with Netanyahu's right-wing Likud, and the premier again warned voters who have abandoned his party for like-minded challengers that without their votes, he could lose. Forecast to win up to 24 seats to Likud's 21 in the 120-member parliament, Zionist Union hopes the gap will be wide enough to persuade Israel's president to ask its leader, Labour party chief Isaac Herzog, rather than Netanyahu, to try to form a coalition government after Tuesday's balloting.

Exclusive - Talks under way on ending U.N. sanctions on Iran: officials
World

Exclusive - Talks under way on ending U.N. sanctions on Iran: officials

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Major world powers have quietly begun talks on a U.N. Security Council resolution to lift U.N. sanctions on Iran if a nuclear agreement is struck, a step that could make it harder for the U.S

Palestinian activist sentenced to 18 months for U.S. immigration fraud
World

Palestinian activist sentenced to 18 months for U.S. immigration fraud

REUTERS - A Palestinian activist was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Thursday for immigration fraud for failing to tell U.S. authorities that she had been convicted and served time in Israel for a 1969 supermarket bombing that killed two people. Rasmieh Yousef Odeh was convicted last year in a Detroit federal court of unlawful procurement of naturalization.

Qatar says to begin rebuilding 1,000 homes in Gaza
World

Qatar says to begin rebuilding 1,000 homes in Gaza

GAZA (Reuters) - A Qatari official visiting a Gaza neighbourhood heavily bombed in last summer's war with Israel said on Tuesday the Gulf Arab state had begun a project to rebuild 1,000 homes as part of a $1 billion aid pledge. Mohammad al-Amadi, head of the Qatari Committee to Rebuild Gaza, said that earlier in the day Israel had allowed four truckloads of cement into the Gaza Strip so that the planned construction of the dwellings could begin.