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Syria extends major offensive to retake territory in west

BEIRUT - Syrian troops and allied militia backed by a fresh wave of Russian air strikes and cruise missiles fired from warships attacked rebel forces on Thursday as the government extended an offensive to recapture territory in the west of the country.

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U.S., NATO signal willingness to slow Afghan drawdown

BRUSSELS - The United States and its NATO allies signaled a willingness on Thursday to consider slowing their withdrawal from Afghanistan, days after the Taliban's brief takeover of a provincial capital stoked concern about the strength of Afghan state forces.

Afghanistan, Germany 1:24pm EDT

Beirut protest turns violent, politicians postpone talks

BEIRUT - Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water canon to break up an anti-government protest in Beirut on Thursday, and the country's fractious leaders postponed talks aimed at resolving a political crisis that is feeding public discontent.

1:38pm EDT

U.N. to audit its dealings with entities tied to alleged bribe scheme

UNITED NATIONS - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has ordered an audit of all dealings the organization had with two entities that are the subjects of a U.S. bribery probe, a U.N. spokesman said on Thursday.

United Nations 1:15pm EDT

Afghan agents shoot two would-be suicide bombers in Kabul

KABUL - Afghan security officers shot dead two would-be suicide bombers in a Kabul restaurant before they were able to launch an attack, a senior government official said on Thursday.

Afghanistan 1:33pm EDT

Brazil courts boost impeachment push, but Rousseff's ouster still distant

RIO DE JANEIRO/BRASILIA - President Dilma Rousseff’s opponents have a clearer path to impeach her after two court rulings against her this week but political hurdles still make her ouster unlikely anytime soon.

1:32pm EDT

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