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Putin says Trump clever, will understand new responsibilities

MOSCOW U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is a clever man and will quickly understand his new responsibilities, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with NTV TV.

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Iran vows 'firm response' unless Obama stops sanctions renewal

DUBAI Iranian President Hassan Rouhani demanded on Sunday that Barack Obama block an extension of sanctions passed by the U.S. Congress, saying Tehran would otherwise "firmly respond".

Islamic State strikes back to slow Iraqi forces in Mosul

BAGHDAD/BARTELLA, Iraq Islamic State fighters retreating in the face of a seven-week Iraqi military assault on their Mosul stronghold have hit back in the last two days, exploiting cloudy skies which hampered U.S.-led air support and highlighting the fragile army gains.

Iraq, 11:01am EST

Fleeing Aleppo fighting, Syrians describe terrifying choices

BEIRUT As Syrian government forces advanced into Aleppo's rebel-held al-Sakhour district, Hasan al-Ali said he faced the choice of staying put and being caught by the army, or fleeing into a shrinking rebel enclave under relentless bombardment.

4:58am EST

Palestinian President Abbas gets boost in Fatah congress vote

RAMALLAH, West Bank Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas kept a strong grip on his Fatah movement in an election in which his loyalists remained dominant in its top decision-making body, final results showed on Sunday.

12:41pm EST

Cash gifts and 'crocodile holes': Gambia's outgoing ruler

BANJUL Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh was celebrating his 48th birthday in Banjul in May 2013 when he saw a poor street hawker selling peanuts with a child strapped to her back.

10:29am EST

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