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Exclusive: Russia masses heavy firepower on border with Ukraine - witness

KHUTOR CHKALOVA, Russia - Russia's army is massing troops and hundreds of pieces of weaponry including mobile rocket launchers, tanks and artillery at a makeshift base near the border with Ukraine, a Reuters reporter saw this week.

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Islamic State shoots dead 20 in Palmyra amphitheatre: monitor

BEIRUT - Islamic State militants shot dead around 20 men in an ancient amphitheatre in the Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday, accusing them of being government supporters, a group monitoring the conflict said.

3:42pm EDT

France warns Iran over nuclear deal as deadline nears

ANKARA/PARIS - France warned on Wednesday it was ready to block a final deal between Iran and the six major powers on Iran's nuclear program unless Tehran provided inspectors access to all installations, including military sites.

United Nations, France 2:02pm EDT

Blair to leave Middle East envoy post after years of struggling diplomacy

JERUSALEM - Former British prime minister Tony Blair is standing down as the Quartet representative in the Middle East, the organization said on Wednesday, after eight years struggling to break ground in peacemaking between Israel and the Palestinians.

United Nations, Israel 3:22pm EDT

Saudi designates two Hezbollah officials as terrorists

DUBAI - Saudi Arabia has designated two senior officials of the Lebanese Hezbollah group as terrorists, accusing them of involvement in spreading "chaos and instability", state news agency SPA reported on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia 3:14pm EDT

Germany's Angela Merkel again tops Forbes most powerful women list

NEW YORK - German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped the Forbes list of the world's 100 most powerful women for the fifth consecutive year, edging past U.S. presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, who came in second in the 2015 annual ranking. | Video

People 2:00pm EDT

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