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Thousands flee as Russian-backed offensive threatens to besiege Aleppo

BEIRUT Tens of thousands of Syrians fled an intensifying Russian assault around Aleppo on Friday, and aid workers said they feared the major city could soon fall under a full government siege.

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Al Qaeda group claims kidnapping of Australians in Burkina Faso

CAIRO The militant group al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of two Australians near Burkina Faso's border with Mali on Jan. 15, according to an audio statement on Friday.

Africa, Mali 4:25pm EST

U.S., Britain consider letting spy agencies, police seek email, chat data from companies

WASHINGTON U.S. and UK spy agencies and police may soon be allowed to directly ask media companies in each others' countries for email and online chat data for people being investigated, under a tentative bilateral deal, officials said on Friday.

Tech 6:40pm EST

Syrian govt. not serious about political solution: rebel leader

BEIRUT Intensifying military offensives show the Syrian government and its allies are not serious about finding a political solution to the five-year-old conflict, the new leader of a major rebel group said on Friday.

United Nations, Syria 5:17pm EST

Pentagon releases photos tied to Afghan, Iraq detainee abuse

WASHINGTON The Pentagon on Friday released 198 photographs linked to allegations of abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them showing close-ups of cuts and bruises to arms and legs of prisoners held in U.S. facilities.

Afghanistan, Iraq 6:50pm EST

Italian student killed in Egypt criticized Cairo govt. in articles

ROME An Italian student found dead by a roadside in Cairo with cigarette burns and other signs of torture on his body had written articles critical of the Egyptian government, according to the Italian newspaper that published them.

Italy, Egypt 1:31pm EST

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